Re-Ranking the Patriots Roster with Two Weeks until Roster Cuts

Veteran Players Likely to Make the Final 53

44. James Anderson (30), LB – Anderson’s missed some time during training camp, but his ability to cover backs and tight ends has not gone unnoticed. Arguably the biggest weakness on team is their ability to defend in the middle of the field and scheme against RB/TE in coverage. That’s Anderson’s strength and he’ll play plenty of snaps during the regular season.

43. Nate Ebner (25), SAF – Adds little to the base defense, but has turned himself into a standout performer on special teams. He’ll make this roster unless the Patriots are really concerned about the depth at safety and their ability to play snaps on defense.

42. Dan Connolly (31), OG/OC – Carrying a four million dollar cap hit Connolly was a “Dead Man Walking” during the off-season. Somehow he’s manage to survive this long and now it looks like he’ll actually be the starting Center when they play Miami. Connolly’s much more natural at Center, but was forced to play Guard when Brian Waters didn’t show up prior to the start of the 2012 season.

41. Michael Hoomanawanui (26), TE – Developed a niche role for himself over the last two seasons. Hoomanawanui could handle even more blocking responsibilities in 2014 as the Patriots attempt to limit Gronkowski’s exposure to inline blocking. He’s locked into one of the tight end spots moving forward.

40. Sealver Siliga (24), DT – He was having a strong camp and building on the momentum he created last season before he got hurt. The extent of his hand/arm injury is unknown, but there is a possibility it costs him a few games. Siliga is still a strong bet to make the final roster, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots manage his injury and availability.

39. Duron Harmon (23), SAF – Still the front runner to start opposite Devin McCourty. Harmon hasn’t done anything to lose the starting safety job, but he also hasn’t done anything to stake his undisputed claim on it. His interception against Philadelphia certainly helped his cause given how Patrick Chung struggled in coverage and how Tavon Wilson was absent with injury. Regardless if Harmon wins the job or not, he’ll be part of the rotation early in the season.

38. Chris Jones (24), DT – In the same boat as Sealver Siliga. Off to a good start in camp, injured vs. the Redskins and will miss the majority of the preseason. Jones has a lower leg issue and the timetable on his return hasn’t been established. He definitely has flaws in his game, but showed too much pass rush potential as a rookie to cast aside in year two. Before his injury he was taking reps at Defensive End in the 3-4 adding some intrigue to how he’ll be used during the season. Like Siliga it’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots manage his roster spot as he regains his health.

37. Tommy Kelly (33), DT – I expected the Patriots to bide their time with Kelly and start him on PUP to begin the season; the Patriots thought otherwise. Kelly has been an active participant in practices and games which is a good sign for his health. With other injuries cropping up at Defensive Tackle he’ll play a big role next to Vince Wilfork to start the season. It’s still conceivable he’d be cut, but that would be a surprising turn of events.

On the 53 Man Roster

36. Bryan Stork (23), OC – Stork’s battled injuries the majority of training camp, which was him M.O. during his time at Florida State. There are still two weeks left to win the starting Center job, but making up ground this late in the summer will be difficult. He’ll be a major contributor on the offensive line before the end of the season (if he stays healthy).

35. Malcolm Butler (24), CB – The biggest surprise of training camp and the player that’s helped himself the most over the last month. Butler went from a low-level UDFA to a practice squad candidate and now looks like a roster lock. Butler has played awesome in the first two preseason games translating his success in practice to the game field. Not only is Butler going to make the team, it looks like he’s going to be a contributor. Cases like Malcolm Butler are why the NFL Draft and the scouting process is so much fun. Five months ago no one knew who he was and now the West Alabama product is lining up across from Darrelle Revis. That’s pretty damn awesome.

34. Cameron Fleming (21), OT – The 4th round draft pick is the youngest player on the team and has impressed me during his first two NFL appearances. Fleming’s ability to run block and get movement at the line of scrimmage stood vs. Philadelphia. He’s still a work in progress in all phases, especially pass protection. He looks like he could step in and contribute at Right Tackle if needed and that’s a positive development.

33. Ryan Allen (24), P – Incumbent punter hasn’t been challenged during training camp. Allen can be a lot better than what he showed last week. After an impressive rookie season Allen needs to continue to develop and improve. He has all the tools to be the long term Punter in New England.

32. James White (22), RB – Firmly entrenched as the #3 running back and is certain to play a role during the regular season. With Ridley’s ball security issues and Shane Vereen’s durability issues, White is one series of events away from being the starting RB of the Patriots. He doesn’t have any “wow” skill, he’s just a steady player that can be relied on in multiple phases of the offense.

31. Ryan Mallett (26), QB – The Ryan Mallett roller coaster is in full swing this summer. He struggled during the first preseason and bounced back to have his best performance as a New England Patriot in the second game. Regardless of how he plays in the final two exhibition games he will be on the 53 man roster. His value to the Patriots continues to be higher than it is to other teams around the league. This is a legitimate Super Bowl contender and if Tom Brady goes down for a few weeks the Patriots need to have multiple QB options at their disposal.

Roster Locks 

30. James Develin (26), FB/TE – It’s incredible the transformation James Develin has made over the last two seasons. He’s gone from barely on the practice squad to training camp body to roster bubble to 53 man roster to the active roster and now he’s a significant contributor on the offense. Develin will play the role of a utility player on the Patriots. Depending on the game plan and health of the team he could line up at as many as four different positions.

29. Kenbrell Thompkins (26), WR – Thompkins has done enough to make the team and carve out a role in the passing game. Consistency will be the main issue to watch with Thompkins. He needs to find a way to be the same player each game as he continues to build up the trust of Tom Brady. The role he plays will likely be altered once Aaron Dobson and Rob Gronkowski are  on the field and the Patriots have all their offensive weapons healthy.

28. Marcus Cannon (26), OL – Cannon’s played all over the offensive line during the summer. While he might not start games he will be a significant contributor at multiple positions on the OL and by the end of the season he may end up playing more snaps than some of the starters. I still believe that Right Guard is his best position and he should be given a chance to start there at the beginning of the year.

27. Brandon LaFell (27), WR – Steadily improving as training camp moves forward. LaFell looks more comfortable within the offense and provides Tom Brady with size on the perimeter. LaFell’s role will probably change over the course of the season, but right now he looks like a solid fouth option in the passin game.

26. Kyle Arrington (28), CB – After all the moves at Cornerback in the off-season Arrington has been the forgotten man. Arrington will be the slot cornerback when the team goes into it’s nickel defense, but I’m sure he’ll still be moved around at some points. Arrington will be put into spots that better suit his skill-set this season.

25. Jimmy Garoppolo (22), QB – Made dramatic improvements since the early days of training camp. Garoppolo put his skill-set on display during the two exhibition games and has generated a lot of optimism from Patriots fans. Even those fans that hated the selection during the draft are starting to change their tune. Garoppolo won’t be asked to do anything other than learn the system and sdjust to the NFL during the 2014 season. Regardless of how well he plays in the pre-season the Patriots prefer him to be the #3 QB this season and leave the back-up role to Ryan Mallett.

24. Danny Amendola (28), WR – He definitely looks more comfortable in the Patriots offense this summer. As always the question with Amendola will be his health. If he avoids injury and plays in all 16 games there is no reason to believe he won’t catch 70-80 passes and become one of the “go to” receivers in key situations.

23. Stevan Ridley (25), RB – He’ll get every opportunity to be the 1st and 2nd down running back. Ridley must prove he can hold on to the football or else it will get to the point where the team has to move on from him. He’s always productive when given a full compliment of carries. At this point he’s his own worst enemy with the fumbles. With no LeGarrette Blount around to vulture goal line carries Ridley will have a big season. He’s entering a contract year, meaning he’s not just playing for his future with the Patriots.

Core Players and Potential Pro Bowl Players 

22. Aaron Dobson (22), WR – It’s definitely disappointing Dobson injured his foot and missed almost all of training camp while recovering. Before he was injured last season he was beginning to build some legitimate momentum with his on-field performances. The fact that Dobson is off PUP should be viewed as a positive because I thought there was a legitimate possibility he could miss the first few weeks of the season. The Patriots have high hopes for the second year product and believe when he’s on the field with Rob Gronkowski that the offense will be nearly impossible to defend.

21. Stephen Gostkowski (30), K – Coming off his career best season Gostkowski looks to follow it up and cash in as one of the highest paid kickers in the game. He’s looked shaky during the first two games, but he’s the least of the Patriots concerns at this point.

20. Alfonzo Dennard (24), CB – Missed the majority of training camp as he recovered from shoulder surgery. Since he hasn’t been on the field much it remains to be seen how the Patriots will use him with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in the mix. Dennard is pretty good cover corner in his own right and matching him up with opposing teams #3 or #4 receivers is a huge advantage for the Patriots defense. If he can stay healthy all season he’ll be one of the breakout stars around the league.

19. Logan Ryan (23), CB – Should be a major contributor in the defense backfield after an impressive rookie season. His versatility will help him get on and stay on the field when all five cornerbacks are healthy. It’s likely Ryan will even see some time at safety as the season progresses. Let’s just hope he avoids the dreaded “Patriots second year defensive back regression”.

18. Brandon Browner (30), CB – Adds size, physicality, and toughness to the Patriots defensive backs corps. People expecting him to be a shutdown corner will be disppointed because that’s not what he is. He’s a press man cornerback that can make it difficult for opposing teams top WR to get into their routes. When you look at the Patriots schedule and the struggles they’ve had defending big, physical receivers it’s clear why he was acquired. He’ll make his impact felt in big games this season.

17. Shane Vereen (25), RB – This might be a little high for Shane Vereen given what he’s accomplished in the past. He really hasn’t been able to stay on the field and if he doesn’t stay healthy this season he’s likely finished in New England. With that being said the Patriots don’t have another player like him on the roster. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and split out to create mismatches adds a critical element to the offense. If he plays in all 16 games he’ll lead the NFL in receptions by a running back. I want to see the Patriots give him more carries out of their spread and “hurry-up” offense because he can add even more value as a ball-carrier.

16. Matthew Slater (28), WR/ST – Slater knows his role on the team and plays it perfectly. He’s completely inept as a wide receiver, but has turned himself into the games premier special teams player. He’s an invaluable piece on all four special teams units and is one of the leaders in the locker room.

15. Dominique Easley (22), DL – He’s back on the practice field and might see his first game action this week vs. the Panthers. Expect the Patriots to ease him into the defense and build him up for late in the season. They followed the same path with Jamie Collins last year and it worked out perfectly. Easley is by far the most explosive and dynamic interior pass rusher the Patriots have had in years. He’ll create challenges for the opposing team’s interior blockers and improve the pass rush up the middle.

14. Sebastian Vollmer (30), OT – Vollmer is returning from a scary lower leg injury. When he’s on the field he’s been one of the best Right Tackles in football and the Patriots hope that continues in 2014. Vollmer has been banged up the last few days with a foot injury and while it’s not considered serious, his durability is a concern at this point. Marcus Cannon filled in nicely when he went down last season, but the offensive line is much better with him in the game.

13. Dont’a Hightower (24), LB – He might never become a star player, but he will be a critical piece to the success of the Patriots defense. He can play multiple LB positions and should be allowed to rush the passer more this season. His best football is ahead of him and he’s one of the players I’m anticipating taking a big leap forward in 2014.

12. Logan Mankins (32), OG – 2014 may end up being the final year in New England for Mankins. He has a huge cap number next season and it’s difficult to envision the Patriots paying that for a declining player. Logan Mankins is still a very good football player and will be the glue that holds the OL together this season, but he’s not getting any younger or cheaper.

11. Rob Ninkovich (30), DE – One of the irreplaceable members of the Patriots roster. He still continues to improve each season and has truly turned himself into this decade’s Mike Vrabel. His versatility will allow the Patriots to alternate between 3-4 and 4-3 defenses and become more diverse in 2014. Ninkovich is poised for another big season as he looked faster and more explosive during the exhibition games.

10. Jerod Mayo (28), LB – His loss was understated last season and the Patriots really missed his “all around game” during the playoff run. His impact on the defense goes further than on the field performance as he’s the vocal and emotional leader of the team. His return along with the development of Jamie Collins gives the Patriots their best LB corps since 2004.

9. Nate Solder (26), OT – Solder’s best football is still ahead of him. While he can still be inconsistent at times and he gives up sacks vs. explosive pass rushers, he’s by far the most talented Offensive Tackle on the team. His athleticism is irreplaceable  on the Offensive Line and over the next two season I expect him to become one of the top Left Tackles in football.

8. Jamie Collins (24), LB – All reports indicate that he’s had a great summer and is poised for a breakout campaign. His fluidity, speed, and explosiveness are traits the Patriots have lacked on defense for a long time. His ability to run with tight ends, split out wide to cover wide receivers and blitz from any alignment make him such a versatile weapon that Bill Belichick can use in a variety of ways. If his playoff performances were any indication of his future, then he’s on his way to a Pro Bowl season.

7. Vince Wilfork (32), DT – Getting up there in terms of age and miles on the body, but he’s still a vital cog on the defense. When he went down last season the Patriots run defense was terrible, especially up the middle. Even if Wilfork has lost a step or two, his massive presence is enough to occupy space and multiple blockers. The Patriots don’t have a replacement for him anywhere on the roster.

6. Julian Edelman (28), WR – Edelman appears poised for another big season after breaking out in 2013. He’s turned into Brady’s go to receiver in key situations and will receive a large volume of balls thrown in his direction. He’s a different player than Wes Welker, but his impact on the offense will be similar. He’s put together a fantastic summer and while he might not catch 105 passes this season, he can be a better player than he was last year.

All-Pro Candidates and Potential Franchise Players

5. Devin McCourty (27), SAF – McCourty’s move to safety has been effortless and was probably the best move for both player and team. His range, instincts, and speed allow him to take away a large portion of the field from opposing Quarterbacks. While one of the Patriots safety spots is a mess, McCourty brings stability to the other. McCourty can become one of the games elite Free Safeties as he continues to improve at his “new” position. His contract is up after the 2014 season, but it’s a near certainty he’ll sign a long term deal at some point in the next four months.

4. Chandler Jones (24), DE – One of the most irreplaceable players on the entire roster. The best pass rusher on the team and a player just beginning to stratch the surface. The Patriots could struggle to rush the passer at times this season and if Jones were to go down it’d be a disaster. He’s coming off a 11.5 sack season despite showing inconsistencies getting to the QB. Anything less than 13-14 sacks in 2014 would be considered a disappointment.

In a Class of Their Own

3. Rob Gronkowski (25), TE – Gronkowski is the difference between the Patriots getting to the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl. He’s one of the biggest offensive weapons in the NFL and absolutely vital to the success of the Patriots offense. It’s a completely different animal when he’s out on the field and the defense has to account for him with multiple defenders. The goal of the Patriots should be to preserve him and keep him healthy for December and January, not September.

2. Darrelle Revis (29), CB – Poised to regain the title as the “NFL’s Best Cornerback” in 2014. Revis could be the missing piece that gets the Patriots over the hump in 2014. A lot of talk and focus will be on his contract for next season. The bottom line is if Revis plays like the Patriots think he will, then they will have no problem paying him the 14-15 million he’ll command in free agency.

1. Tom Brady (37), QB – He’s still pretty damn good.


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49 Responses to “Re-Ranking the Patriots Roster with Two Weeks until Roster Cuts”

  1. Russell says:

    Here’s my players cut down to 75;… Gaffney to IR, OL Martin to non-fotball injury list, cutting,…WR Derrick Johnson, LB Detonte Skinner, S Shamiel Gray, DT Manumaleuna, CB Travis Hawkins, RB Jonas Gray.
    OC Braxton Cave, DT L.T. Tuipulotu, and LB Chris White, are also possible cuts, IF Bill see’s a player on the wire he likes.
    I think OC/G Connolly, OC Wendell, and OC Stork all make the 53 man roster, with Stork being inactive on game day.

  2. Jack T says:

    Rams lost Sam Bradford to an ACL. Would Jeff Fischer have an interest in taking Mallet for a mid-round draft choice next year?

    • acm says:

      The right Q to ask is if the Pats would be willing to part with Mallett for a mid-round pick?

      • MaineMan says:

        Maybe. If Worthy makes the roster, the Pats will only have five picks left for 2015, I think. Such a tread probably wouldn’t happen right away, though – if ever.

        My guess is that Fisher will be running some tryouts, but may well choose to go with Hill and Austin Davis for the moment. If their offense is a total disaster for the first three weeks before their week-4 BYE, THEN Fisher might make a drastic move. No guarantee of that, though.

        They start with Minny at home, away at Tampa (which could be very tough) and then the ‘Boys at home. If their offense muddles through those three “okay” and keeps them close, even if they lose two, Fisher may well elect to “stay the course”. Back in TEN, Fisher “stayed the course” through entire seasons with the same or less talent at QB, apparently hoping to be able to ride the defense to success.

        • acm says:

          5 picks for 2015? A potential pick sent to the Pack for Worthy is one, where did they “spend” the other pick? Don’t seem to remember a trade for a 2015 pick …
          Anyways, my main point was that the main factor in the Mallet matter would be how long it takes Jimmy G to fully come into his role of backing up Brady. Not so much draft picks. Sure, picks are important but one can always generate picks and how many real difference-makers can you get from say the 4th round on? Squad filler you can find in free agency and roster cuts anytime.
          So, having the proper insurance behind Brady till Jimmy G is ready would be the deciding factor here, imo. And that is gonna take time, at least couple of more months, imo, maybe even the entire season.

          Even then, I don’t see the Rams as the ideal fit for Mallett anyway. I think they start the season as they are and see how it goes from there. Plus that way they will have the chance to see what QBs get cut elsewhere before they have to “buy” themselves an emergency exit. If they were to trade for a QB, I think Sanchez, as rumors go, would be the they go for, not Mallett.
          I still see the Texans as the best option for a trade partner if the Pats feel like letting Mallett go. He knows the Billy O’ offense and that will likely make them more willing to spend a high enough pick on Mallett as to tickle the Pats’ fancy for a trade. Otherwise, I think Mallett is more important to the Pats than a late round pick, where they are much more likely to get a player who ends up being a career STer at best than a starter anyway.

        • MaineMan says:

          acm –

          Pats spent their 2015 7th on Greg Salas way back when. If they keep Worthy on the roster, they probably lose their 6th, too.

        • acm says:

          Ah, yeah, there was that Salas trade too. Easy waste of a pick that turned out to be.
          Thanks, MM.

        • steve earle says:

          I don’t much care if 6th and 7th rd picks get traded away because there isn’t much difference between them and priority udfa in most cases. Pat’s have been able to find some pretty good players down there. As for Mallett being traded I think it’s to early, even for the Rams because several options are bound to open up for them by the final cut-down. Not saying he will or won’t, just not yet.

        • Daniel R. Martin says:

          acm – As far as I could tell, Garoppolo has outplayed Mallet since the very first preseason game. He is already a more capable backup, at least to my mind.

      • steve earle says:

        This Q will tell us how much confidence Bill has in our rookie QB….. or not. Still very intresting to ponder. I do think Bill will go the cautious route, unless he’s just been blown away as many fans have by Garopollo, and keep Mallett. Still Maine Man has a good point about the lack of draft picks in 15. Will be another intresting topic for us.

  3. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Roster Predictions.

    Five surprising cuts.
    Tommy Kelly
    Jake Bequette
    Tavon Wilson
    Ryan Wendell
    Josh Boyce

    Five surprising players that make team.
    Josh Kline
    Jonas Gray
    Roy Finch
    Darius Fleming
    Jerrel Worthy

    Players traded for future picks
    Stevon Ridley
    Ryan Mallett
    Marcus Cannon

    Free Agents Patriots should sign.
    Blake Annen TE and Michael Egnew TE

    • MaineMan says:

      Kelly being cut *was* a surprise, indeed.

      The only thing surprising about Bequette being cut now would be why it took so long. None of the rest – Wilson, Wendell, Boyce – would be all that surprising.

      It would be more surprising if Kline or Darius Fleming were cut at this point.
      Worthy certainly has a better chance of making it, now that Kelly and Smith are gone.

      BOTH Gray and Fince being retained might be surprising. But then, I think Bolden may have already been traded, so, if Ridley goes, too, then there’s be room for both.

      Vollmer would probably be traded sooner than Cannon.

      As for the TEs ….. Annen – meh, Egnew – OMG NO! Now, if the Rams cut Alex Bayer, I’d definitely want to scoop him up for the PSQ.

  4. greg says:


    • greg says:

      “White is one series of events away from being the starting RB of the Patriots.” – Mike Loyko


    • MaineMan says:

      Hmmm. I’m not really sure what lofty standards a 4th-rounder must achieve to avoid being called a “bust”, but it seems extremely premature to apply them before he’s even played one regular-season game.

      btw – you’re CAPS LOCK key appears to be stuck. You might want to get that looked at.

  5. bd says:

    can’t boyce make it to the practice squad under the new rules?

    • steve earle says:

      My understanding is still a little fuzzy on this but I think he could. The other question is would he clear wavers?

      • MaineMan says:

        To “bd”: Yes.

        To “steve earle”: Highly unlikely. The Jets will probably pounce on him because it’s what they do. And, in doing so, they’d inadvertantly confirm that Boyce wasn’t worth keeping.

        • Jack T says:

          I think the Jets may have learned their lesson there. They just cut a WR with 4.28 speed. It’s the only thing Boyce has demonstrated so far.

        • MaineMan says:

          Jack T –

          Really? When have the Jets “learned their lesson” about anything recently? (LOL)

  6. Jack T says:

    Good analysis. Maybe too good. When it’s all laid out in front of us in a package it summarizes the uneasy feeling I have had since the draft that the Pats may be one or two injuries away from an 8-8 season or worse. With a number of key recently and some chronically injured players it’s almost a given… Kelly, Wilfork, Gronk, Mayo, Revis, Vollmer, Dobson, Amendola to name a few. Several have been pushing their bodies to the limit.

    This draft left many of us questioning the thinking in the front office. Not all agreed that the Pats could get by while Easley rehabbed or that taking him early was their wisest choice. Or Wilson last year followed by Donta “He might never become a star player” Hightower.

    The receivers haven’t impressed. They’ve demonstrated limited success. Why the Rutgers fixation in the draft? Pure coincidence? It didn’t translate. Was it focused around the school’s football program or the football IQ of their players? In looking around the league I can’t see where the last two drafts have improved the team much if at all. In comparison to the other three teams in the finals of the playoffs I see the Pats regressing. Years of not having selections in the upper half of each and every round is catching up with them, as it should. However it can be argued the draft is superfluous to coaching and skill in selecting the right ingredients to mix with the players we do have – one only has to look at the Raiders and Miami.

    The team still has cull-down Tuesday followed by the final cut to make amends and secure better backups, but will it be enough to offset the second half reset that’s inevitable as injuries wear down the roster? Tomorrow night’s game will be a good preview of what’s in store for us as fans this season. I expect the Panthers to be a finalist in the playoffs.

    • Mike Loyko says:

      Bill Belichick could play with players 90-30 on this list and go 8-8. Everyone in the NFL I’ve talked to are extremely bullish on the Patriots this season. It’s a 13 win team.

      • Jack T says:

        Well, he may have to. Fortunately Bill has been running ten K’s so if need be he’ll be able to suit up. Brady has been the glue holding this receiving corps together. We’ll get a taste tomorrow. I hope you’re right.

      • MaineMan says:

        Agree 1000%. I just wrote earlier today (on, ahem, another site) that, in spite of a couple “meh” units, this is the strongest Pats roster I’ve seen in a decade. There’s at least one or more guys at *almost* every position who’ll be cut who would have been locks for the 2010 roster, for example.

        On another note, I don’t know whether you factored this into your projections for the first fifteen cuts or not, but when I look at keeping the likely ultimate starters and primary alternates/rotational/situational players mostly on the bench and out of harm’s way for the final pre-season game against the Giants, it seems to me that a couple-three of the guys in your first fifteen might need to be kept around in order for the Pats to field a full squad for the second half with even minimal depth. Except for that, it hardly makes a difference if they’re cut on the 26th or the 30th, does it?

        Aside from that nitpick, though, great job!

    • DMC413 says:

      Jack T

      This is the funniest thing I heard all week… No seriously it is.

      Last yr on defense we lost Wilfork(poss HOF), kelly, Mayo(poss HOF), Gregory for a period of time and Aqib Talib was not a hundred percent.

      On offense we started the first half of the yr with out Vereen and Gronk(HOF) who went down a few weeks after his return, Amendola suffers and injury which hampered him all season, Dobson goes down(who was starting to pop) and a banged up Kenbrell.

      With the previous mentioned we still went to the AFC game!!!! BARING INJURIES we wouldn’t go 8-8 even if we tried!!

      • Jack T says:

        I’m glad somebody had a good laugh. Life’s too serious.

        Barring injuries? That was my whole point. The Pats lucked out when Blount emerged to carry the team on his back as long as he did. Now Blounts doing blunts with another team and Talib’s gone.

        IMO the biggest factor in last year’s successful season was Talib, only because people were still afraid to throw on his side of the field after he came back from his hip flexor which he now claims was a quad injury, whatever, 57 million does change the story line, but that all ended in the playoffs.

        Now the expectations surrounding Revis and Browner are primarily what everyone is basing their optimism on. That’s premature at best because Revis has lost a step and he does occasionally quit on plays, at least that is what Deion Sanders illustrated on an NFL Network show a couple of weeks ago. Who was the announcer on TV who was giving him a pass on that by comparing Revis to Randy Moss and saying from their experience those two pros knew when it was okay to quit on plays? We’ll see. I think the guy’s amazing at following a receiver’s hip turns and at the same time the QB’s eyes. I don’t care if he quits on plays. We don’t know what he’s thinking or who he’s handing his coverage off to.

        I expect this could be a challenging season for the Pats, but it will be for the Jets, Bills and Dolphins too. Eight and eight could win the AFC East. Has anyone seen those three 350 + pound DLs Ryan has playing for the Jets? Good grief. Of course, nobody can tell me Vince only weighs 325 either.

        • GM-in-Training says:

          If your point is that injuries happen…yes, but we don’t know how much. The year the 49ers first popped, 3 years ago, they had way-below-average injury rates, and people wondered if they were doing something special in the training room.

          If the Pats return to just average injury rates, they should be better than last year. With Revis and Browner, the secondary should be better overall, and deeper this year. The defensive line should be better and deeper this year. The receivers, with the addition of LaFell and the second year growth of Thompkins and Dobson, should be better and deeper this year. The TE group…maybe about the same depending on how many games we get a healthy Gronk.

          Blount has not been adequately replaced, and that is a loss.

          Overall, yes, this is probably a better team on Day-1 of the season than a year ago.

          Sure the rest of the AFC East has some great positional groups. The jets DL is beastly. But none of the rest of the AFC East has the breadth of talent and hopefully coaching acumen that the Pats have…so, be optimistic.

        • MaineMan says:

          The 2013 Patriots lost half their team from 2012 to either free agency, injury or murder charges, replaced them with rookies, many of whom were UDFAs. They won 12 regular season games and made it to the AFC Championship Game. So, with all those injured guys back, significant talent added in free-agency and those former rookies now tempered by the baptism of fire, how could it be that their upside is somehow LESS than what they accomplished last season?

          So, as it happens, the practice I attended was the start of all the recent flare-up of the “Revis quits on plays” BS. I mean, I understand the media zeroing in on him because he’s about the highest of the high-profile “new team” guys in the league (and it’s THE PATRIOTS!! OMG11″

          But here’s the thing: almost nobody on the Pats defense that day was playing to the finish. And nobody was getting yelled at for it either. They were pretty much treating it as an up-tempo walkthough BY DESIGN. The were practicing their alignments, their reads, their reactions to route combos and breaks, their adjustment to blocks, setting the edge. Once it was clear how things were going to play out, they pulled up. “HT struggled to cover Sproles”? The guy was a half step away from Sproles when the ball arrived – and pulled up. If he’d been running at full speed and finished, they’d have been scraping Sproles’ remains off US 1.

          And yeah, the Jets’ DL is BIG and very, very good. But, after all the injuries to their secondary, their #2 corner as of now is … LeQuan Lewis. Never heard of him? Yeah, that’s kinda the point.

        • DMC413 says:

          Good stuff from yesterday… sorry I missed it!

          “Barring Injuries”, If if may quickly add I don’t see how anyone could look at any team and say they’re going to have this record because of injuries…

          Throwing that out there like there is some scientifical backing to it is to hypothetical… But if thats what were going with then you have to apply that same math to every other team in the league.

          Aqib Talib was actually targeted multiple times and lit up when it came to teams with descent QB/WR combos. I.E. when covering Stevie Johnson, Antonio Brown, Steve Smith, Deryimus Thomas(2x) and Gosh Jordan he we was exposed!! Yes he Locked-down Jimmy Graham but IMO if you ask me that only sheds light on the fact Graham is nothing more than a BIG WR ( Joker if you will that played baskerball) with good mobility and speed who shines because he is often covered by slower-shorter defensive players( LB’s/Safeties).

          The team has gotten better on both sides of the ball at each position to include valid back-ups to plug in which was not the case last year and often left us scrambling to get players from other teams or to play our own team members at positions out of their normal positions, so even if we’re plagued this year with “higher than normal” injuries like this previous season shouldn’t we at least expect another “12-4” year!?!?

        • Jack T says:

          My point wasn’t that injuries happen, it was that injuries happenED and using 1st and 2nd round picks on injured and speculative players was an unnecessary crapshoot for a team already burdened with too many rehabbing players.

          Take a quick look at Mike’s list above. One thing stands out. The lack of UDFAs on it in his top 30, regardless of whether they started out with the Pats or came to us through another team’s draft. Mike’s top 30 is made up of a shotgun distribution of players taken from fifteen years of NFL drafts (15 yrs? TB). That’s how important the draft has been to the core of this team long term.

          Water under the bridge. Don’t cry over spilt milk. It is what it is. And so, for this year’s draft, with the last preseason game approaching… how is this year’s draft class going to fare?

          What’s always been funny were those old Mel Kiper Youtube videos of Jets fans at Radio City Music Hall wearing their Namath jerseys and eagerly awaiting the team’s first round selection, and the groans, howls and abject disappointment which followed, year after year after year. Not this year, guys. Not this year. The Jets are loaded. And the experts are picking them to finish third to the Pats and Miami? I don’t think so. Their new OC Marty Mornhinweg has already had a dramatic effect on their offense and Gino is a different guy this year, poised, confident and in command. Marty comes from Philly so he’s somewhat familiar with their back up QB too. It’s going to be an interesting year.

          Every final roster pick impacts the outcome of the regular season and it’s not cliche to say so. It will be a dogfight to make the playoffs and only the teams that can survive the regular season with their core body of players intact will make it to the end.

        • Alex (freemanator) says:

          Funny stuff. The Jets are loaded?
          On the D line yes, same as last year. At LB and at corner? It’s a wasteland.
          On offense not sure that I’m that scared of a Geno led offense with a past it RB and a guy that Manning made look good as the key weapons, all behind a middling O-line.

    • MaineMan says:

      WRT the Panthers, I think Mike Tanier said it best – aside from maybe Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, Newton’s best receiving targets are probably Jason Avant and Jericho Cotchery, neither of whom could get open against a museum volunteer on a Segway at this stage in their careers. And, then there’s the issue of one of their OL guys retiring about every three days.

      Their defense should be very good, but “playoffs?” That’s a stretch.

    • Conor O says:

      The offense didn’t live and die in the back of Blo-unt last year. He had a good year rushing for about 800 yards and had a great divisional game, but he wasn’t half as valuable of a guy to this O as Gronk or Edelman or of course Brady. Amendola, dobson, and thompkins were essentially all rookies last year and it’s not unrealistic to expect improvements from all 3. Talib made the defense a much more effective unit last year when he was playing. Unfortunately that wasn’t always the case and regardless of what you feel about Revis’ current state he’s pretty dependable on the injury front. If you want to talk about teams getting worse I’m looking at the panthers. Finalists when the playoffs come around? I find that unlikely. Especially with the NFC South looking at a strong year top to bottom. Carolina could nd up at the bottom of the division

      • CC says:

        1st of all: I’d love too find out more on the Tony Gonzalez “Not done yet” articles I’ve seen relating the Patriots and he are both looking in eachothers direction……
        Next, would be the trade deadline….? Sorry, just don’t have much faith respectivally in Gronk…….% wise-He is never much around when it tru!y counts. If dude ain’t “Mackin’ It Out” by then, I’d semi-stun the leave(but not really) & ship him off! Let Rob Gronkinjuiski “not” be around when it’s really needed somewhere else!!

        Next: The Pat’s need too make a smart move, and a Combo of Mallet, Ridley & Slater ……..? wouldn’t that be a great initial start on bringing in an aggresive & beefy VET D.T. too stuff the line and steamroll on teams alongside/ in addition too help relax, relieve and reduce any possible Big-Vince wear&tear. (Still pissed about not tagging Dontari Poe when they SHOULD HAVE)………Mallet = not for the Pats/wasted space/time/$$$$/effort, Ridley as know is o.k., but has hand issues fo-sho(not dependable), & Slater we know is a waste at a steady WR in addition tah’ being the Captain of a kind weak ars S.T. Unit…………(true).

        I’d like too hear NEPD’s thoughts on the trade deadline and what/who can be brought in on the Defensive Line to shore it up brick&steamroll like………?

        • Alex (freemanator) says:

          How were we supposed to get Dontari Poe? We’d have had to trade up over 10 spots more than we did to get Chandler, and that would have cost us dearly. And we’d not have one of our most promising players on the Dline.

        • MaineMan says:

          “weak ars ST unit”? You mean the one that’s been top five in the league for several seasons? That ST unit?

        • cc says:

          YES, REAL D.L. HELP!!!!!!
          Would you rather consistency in in consistency or how about build a NASCARfront 4 like the one NYC built 2stuffitin out face and hand ELI another SB RING??

          Tommy Kelly, Armastead and retreads galor along side weak never was even close Jake Bequetts, = NO MORE SB WIN’s- period.
          Finally someone working with& beside BigVince. “Would have”.

          You say yet to be determined now cause you have too, I say jump the for Dontari Poe when they should have and reap another needed spot in another round with em’ would have been better.
          High tower & Jones…. Cool.
          But having to settle for the likes of Jake Bequette? And the rest…..really?
          Alfonso Denard CB so worked out right? Just like Jeremy Ebert WR, Ebner….? OH’ and good old Tavon Wilson…….Woooooooh!
          & now THE KEY in it……subject yourself too the availability list of ILB’s and DE’s that could hold alongside a double dose of Big V and D Poe and who’s left/come and gone since……..Thank You, thank you.
          Not like we took High tower & Jones AAAAANNNNNND snagged say C. Fleener TE in the 3rd.

          Yet, still issues with the DL, still issues with the TE possition, the O LINE has been weakening,…..1 and half at best Wide Outs??? Uhg, I do thank & appreciate you helping me make my point while you widen your eyes at Poe’s numbers since his 2012 draft taken at number 11 overall by that other team and the RECENT SB RING on fingers of Giants……..
          ***& Yes Maine man, I’d for sure try to dump Mallet onto St Louis Rams before they snuck a finishing peak at a rebirthed M. Sanchez and snagged something back for him…………..Cassel did great in our system while Brady was hurt, Hoyer is still holding his own, and Mallets Bledsoe like cannon arm……enticing, just saying bro.

        • cc says:

          Chris Jones, S. Siliga, Ben Bass, Will Smith, Armond Armesttead, Tommy Kelly, Manumaleuna, the list has gone on and on and on, nd now Jererl Worthy for a late pick…….the D.L line bus goes round and round, round and round, round and round, the D.L. line bus goes round and round all around the town.
          At this point they’ll trade Big Vince to the Bucs as well at the end of the season.

  7. Joe E O says:

    How has Vince looked in camp? He looked pretty pedestrian against Philly.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Our best hope with Vince Wilfork is that his recovery is ongoing. Most players are not 100% when they first come back from that injury. Vince’s contract is heavily incentive laden, and if you were the DL coach, you would probably play Vince sparingly the first few weeks, trying to test him a little more each week. I don’t know how that will go down with Vince.

      • steve earle says:

        This sounds about right GM. I think Vince will go along with the program as it is in his and the teams best intrests to bring him along gradually hopefully building to his best football in late November and onward.

    • MaineMan says:

      Huh! He seems like his usual self to me – plugging gaps, tying up two (or more) blockers on almost every play. If you’re looking for more pass-rush, he’s never really been that guy, but even the Philly OL guys said after the game that he was as strong and quick as ever and even pulled a couple moves on them that they hadn’t seen before. So [shrug]?

      • CC says:

        Hey, I’d dump a cpl of cats in order too bring in real DL help to work beside Big-V. Especially now after his first real injury…….and considering St. Louis Rams just got effed regarding Sam Bradford, I’d be checking out who we can “sign&trade” so too speak for regarding tossing them Mallet + since they have what is a need now. Even if its only the same 3rd round pick used on him initially in the end from them, its better than the wasted for us 3rd rounder initially spent coming back. Nevermind snagging DL help somehow for sending Mallet to St. Louis.
        I’d jump at the Op too do essentially both in one shot. You know the Pats DLine needs beefing up!

        • MaineMan says:

          “real DL”? You mean an accomplished player who’s “clearly better” than who the Pats have now? (and it’s kinda yet-to-be-determined how good the Pats guys really are)

          Seems pretty unrealistic to me to expect any team, including the Rams, to be falling all over themselves to give a guy like that up before the season even starts. Especially in exchange for an unproven backup QB.

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