NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
The Patriots have begun to cut their roster down to 53. The cuts aren’t due until 9 PM tonight, so players are bound to be released in waves. There have already been some surprises and are bound to be more throughout the day. Who gets cut? Who survives and who will the Patriots pick up? Stay tuned to NEPD and this post for all the latest updates.
1:15 PM - The first round of cuts came around 1 PM and produced a shock. Back-Up QB Brian Hoyer was among the names released. While Hoyer flashed in previous preseasons, he leveled off and even regressed this preseason. You can argue that he was playing with garbage or that he wasn’t blocked for. But, that fact of the matter was he didn’t win the number two job from Mallett. Hoyer’s lack of a throwing arm limits his ceiling. The only thing that is surprising about the move is that the Patriots couldn’t at least squeeze a 7th round pick out of him.
1:21 PM- Deion Branch was also among the early surprises, especially after Stallworth and Gaffney were also let go earlier in the week. Branch had become a one-two route receiver who struggled to separate from defenders. He will be missed in Foxboro for his contributions thoughout the years.
1:23 PM - It’s also the end of the road for OC Dan Koppen. The writing has been on the wall for awhile for Koppen. His play has been sub-standard and the fact that he was playing into the fourth quarter of preseason games was an ominous sign. It bodes well for Nick McDonald, Ryan Wendell and could signal the fact that Brian Waters is on his way back to the team.
1:24 PM- Safety James Ihedigbo was the least notable of the cuts so far. Although he was a solid special teams contributor he struggled when he was forced to play on defense last year. He is a solid roster guy and could be back if injuries occur. It bodes well for a 6th CB to be kept such as Alfonzo Dennard of Marquice Cole.
1:57 PM - CB Derrick Martin has been release according to sources. This is no surprise he was a long shot and didn’t receive much playing time in the preseason.
2:14 PM – Nick Underhill reports that DE/LB Aaron Lavarias has been released. Lavarias was on the practice squad at times last season, but with such depth at DE/LB this year he never had a shot. There is a chance he could land on the practice squad again, but it’s likely the end of the road for him in New England.
2:27 PM - As things currently stand the Patriots roster is at 69, meaning they need to cut 16 more players before 9 PM. There are still a handful of “easy” cuts to make. But, I expect a player or two to be signed as well. Stay Tuned.
2:45 PM - WEEI.com’s Chris Price is reporting that DE Trevor Scott WILL make the Patriots roster. Based on the preseason and the cuts that have come so far, it’s likely the Patriots keep six defensive ends.
2:51 PM - It’s being reported that DE Justin Francis is SAFE as of now. Obviously a lot can change but, I thought he played his way onto the team vs. the Giants.
3:27 PM - The Patriots have practice at 4:00. I would expect the cuts to slow down until after practice. It will allow the players to spend less time on the waiver wire and perhaps make it easier for them to clear waivers to the Practice Squad.
4:15 PM - Among the players absent from practice today are TE Tyler Urban, S Sergio Brown, DT Marcus Harrison, WR Jesse Holley. All four are expected to be cuts, but they haven’t been announced yet. Shane Vereen, Jeff Demps Niko Koutivides, Visanthe Shiancoe, Kyle Love, Matt Kopa, Nick McDonald and Sebastain Vollmer were also absent. Demps, Vereen, McDonald, Koutivides and Kopa all have various injuries. Kopa, Shiancoe, Koutivides and McDonald could be released today, but up to this point it hasn’t been announced.
4:46 PM - According to multiple reports the Patriots have released S Sergio Brown. If you have followed me on twitter or my writing long enough, you know my feelings on Brown. He was a major liability in coverage and had poor football IQ. With Brown and Ihedigbo released, it looks very likely the Patriots keep only four safeties. This means six corners should be kept.
5:55 PM - OT Matt Kopa has been released according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Kopa has missed the past couple weeks with a serious sprained ankle. I had heard talk that the coaching staff was high on Kopa during the off-season. If healthy he is a definite candidate to return via the practice squad
6:16 PM – FB Eric Kettani is the next cut to come down. Kettani has worked extremely hard to make himself into a viable NFL fullback. While his effort and commitment will never be questioned. There are better RB options on the roster. This move bodes very well for Brandon Bolden to make the team as the 5th RB.
6:25 PM - According to Greg Bedard, OL Nick McDonald, CB Alfonzo Dennard and DE Jake Bequette have all made the roster. I have been steadfast in my support of Dennard making the roster despite being hurt most of camp. He has too much potential to risk losing via waivers. Bequette is a 3rd round pick who will likely spend the year developing in the Patriots system. He has shown the versatility that the Patriots like, playing DE, OLB, DT and even TE. McDonald is the most versatile OL on the roster playing all three offensive line spots. His versatility and ability to play center could have been the deciding factor as to releasing long time center Dan Koppen.
6:29 PM - OT Darrion Weems has been released. He could come back on the practice squad. With a chance to sneak on the roster thanks to limited tackles, Weems played poorly against the Giants.
6:35 PM - The cuts are coming fast and furious now. DE turned TE Alex Silvestro has been released but will likely land on the practice squad. Silvestro has shown he has potential to be at least a viable developmental TE. No word yet on Visanthe Shiancoe who could make the roster as a fourth TE.
6:48 PM - According to his own twitter account OG Derek Dennis has been released. Dennis has struggled mightily in games, especially on Wednesday night. While he has practice squad eligibility, I don’t think his preseason performance warrants it.
7:05 PM - The LB position is beginning to shake out with news that ILB and ST Jeff Tarpinian has been released. Tarpinian initially made the team out of camp last year, but spent most of the year on the practice squad. He does have practice eligibility remaining and it’s likely he is headed there unless he is claimed. Tarpinian has flashed potential, but needs to get stronger to be a factor on defense.
7:15 PM - Based on his twitter account it’s apparent that Justin Francis has made the team. Francis had by far his best performance of the preseason on Wednesday night and sealed the deal. Francis brings another edge rusher, who can slide inside if need be.
UPDATE: Hold the horses on Francis for a minute. He says he hasn’t heard anything yet. I expect him to make it, but it’s not official yet.
7:33 PM - Offensive Guard Jeremiah Warren has been informed of his release. The Patriots really liked him after the draft, enough to pay him the biggest bonus of any UDFA they signed. His play in the preseason never even came close to living up to the bonus. He struggled badly to sustain his blocks and looked lost at times during games. While he has practice squad eligibility, he is another one I’m not sure deserves to be on it.
7:42 PM - According to Ian Rappaport 7th Round pick WR Jeremy Ebert has been released. I expect Ebert back on the practice squad since he should have no trouble clearing waivers. With Ebert being waived, I’m curious to see how the WR corps shakes out. Jesse Holley wasn’t at practice meaning he was likely a cut. Kerry Taylor is still on the team, but I don’t see him being a long term answer.
9:00 PM - All NFL teams must be down to 53 players right now. No official statement by the Patriots, but it will come soon.
9:03 PM - It appears that Brandon Bolden has survived the initial cut. I expect at least 2-3 moves between now and Monday, so he many have to hold his breath.
9:15 PM - TE Tyler Urban has been cut. Not a surprise at all, he was a low level UDFA and didn’t stand out in camp. Silvestro will make the practice squad over him.
9:18 PM - WR Kerry Taylor has been cut according to Jeff Howe. This means unless Jesse Holley somehow makes it the Patriots will roll with only three natural WR and Matthew Slater. I fully expect another move at WR.
9:25 PM - The Patriots announced their final cuts and the most surprising announcement is that Rookie UDFA Jeff Demps was placed on IR ending his season. Very Disappointing. Visanthe Shiancoe, Tracy White, Mike Rivera, Marcus Forston and Justin Francis are all bubble players who made the initial roster. Here is the link http://www.patriots.com/news/article-1/Patriots-Release-22-Players-and-Place-Rookie-Jeff-Demps-on-IR/94f45522-4c11-47d7-bbff-30c5e885bcdf