FOXBORO — Usually in Patriots preseason games, there are hundreds of things to watch for. Tonight belongs to Buddy.
Andover's Buddy Farnham, one of the pleasant surprises in this abbreviated Patriots' preseason, looks to take center stage tonight as the Pats close out the preseason with a home joust against the New York Giants, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. here at Gillette Stadium.
Over the past decade, Bill Belichick has made it a point to rest his regulars in the final preseason game, basically leaving the top half of the roster in street clothes.
With the Giants having played on Monday night and most likely doing the same, Belichick at least hinted there would be more of the same on the horizon, even in this unique exhibition campaign.
"This year is no different than any other year in terms of making the final roster cuts, dealing with the opener, trying to figure out what your roster is, looking at what other teams are doing," Bill Belichick said on Tuesday.
"So that part of it is really pretty much the same."
The Ivy League Player of the Year in 2009, Farnham has answered every call since the opening snap of his second pro training camp.
Seeing time in games at practice at both the slot receiver spot and at safety, he has been sharp and delivered. And that positional flexibility has always been a prized trait of this coach and his staff.
Farnham has the team's lone interception of the preseason, and despite seeing no time on offense last week, he has caught four passes for 39 yards.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder leaped over a serious hurdle this week when the team axed a pair of receivers, Tyree Barnes and Darnell Jenkins, in the shrink from 90 to 80 this week.
Does that mean Farnham makes this team? Most likely not.
Barring injury, Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco and Deion Branch are automatics to make the club. Julian Edelman and Taylor Price, along with special teamer Matt Slater, had the inside track on the remaining spots.
That would leave Farnham in a clump, just on the edge with the likes of former No. 2 pick Brandon Tate, just on the outside looking in.
"I've learned not to think about those things," said Farnham. "I'm just excited to hopefully get the chance to get out there and play."
And therein lies what could be a special Thursday night. Farnham, in all likelihood, is playing for a job on the eight-man practice squad — a spot that is basically insurance against injuries as the season plays out.
Practice squad pay is around $70-90 thousand a year, which is not a bad living as Farnham found out over the final month of the 2011 season.
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