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

Malcolm Butler has improved his chances of making the roster more than anyone.

Malcolm Butler has improved his chances of making the final roster more than anyone.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Prior to the start of training camp I ranked the Patriots roster to examine where each player stood and to evaluate their chances of making the final 53 man team. Now that training camp is over and there’s less than two weeks until the first round of cuts, it’s time to re-examine where everyone stands once again. Which players have moved off the bubble and onto the roster? Which players elevated their stock the most over the last month? Did any Patriots players play their way off the roster? All these questions are answered as I re-rank the Patriots roster from #90 to #1.

 

Longshots to make the Roster (Potential Cuts during the first round of moves)

89. Chris Martin (24), OT – Martin hasn’t practiced at all during the summer and remains on the Non-Football Injury list. Martin was an undrafted free agent with limited upside and potential. Given the depth on the offensive line the chances of Martin sticking around are slim and none.

88. L.T. Tuipulotu (23), DT – Undrafted Free Agent out of Utah has struggled thus far. He has a limited skill-set and a low ceiling. If he can’t stop the run, then he doesn’t offer anything else. From the limited game reps I’ve watched, it’s clear to me his days are numbered in New England.

87. Derrick Johnson (23), WR – This Maine product was cut and brought back before start of training camp. He hasn’t distinguished himself at a crowded position and has failed to do anything to register during the preseason games.

86. Eathyn Manumaleuna (25), DT – Like L.T. Tuipulotu, he’s struggled to stop the run and play stout at the line of scrimmage. Manumaleuna plays a position with plenty of depth ahead of him and the fact that the Patriots recently had to go outside the organization to acquire defensive tackle depth when injuries occurred, doesn’t bode well for the BYU product.

85. Justin Jones (22), TE – When Jones was signed back in April fans got excited and were optimistic he could make the team. The only distinguishing trait of Jones is his massive size, other than that he’s a borderline NFL camp body. He struggles to block and really doesn’t look natural to the position. With the dire lack of depth at TE Jones had a huge opportunity in front of him and never took advantage. He’s already been released once and it’s likely going to happen again.

84. Deonte Skinner (23), LB – Missed time to start camp and hasn’t done much to leapfrog players on the depth chart. Linebacker depth is still an area of concern for the team, but Skinner hasn’t shown any indication that he can play a role during the regular season.

83. Shamiel Gary (24), SAF – Gary made a few plays on the goal line stand vs. Philadelphia on Friday Night, but it’s clear he’s way behind the other Safeties on the depth chart. He’s a borderline practice squad player that hasn’t done much to prove he belongs in the NFL to this point.

82. Wilson Van Hooser (23), WR – Patriots have a lot of depth at receiver making it difficult to crack the roster. On top of that Brian Tyms came in late and blew away all the other “UDFA-types” in terms of performance. Van Hooser acquainted himself nicely and might get himself a practice squad spot on another team’s roster.

81. Cameron Gordon (23), LB - Gordon has been a disappointment after receiving the largest guaranteed signing bonus amongst the undrafted free agents (35K). Gordon has been injured for the majority of camp and when he was on the field didn’t do anything to distinguish himself from the masses.

80. James Morris (22), LB – Morris was a draftable prospect that was signed as a high priority FA after the draft. He was immediately released due to a medical condition and missed too much time to make up ground on the players that were here for the off-season program. He could resurface on a practice squad.

79. Braxston Cave (25), OC – Cave spent last season on the practice squad and hasn’t been able to elevate himself up the depth chart during the summer. Drafting a Center in the 4th Round and re-signing Ryan Wendell in the off-season was a pretty good indication of how the Patriots viewed Cave’s future.

78. Ja’Gared Davis (23) – Undersized Special Teams only Linebacker. Patriots have plenty of players like him and better than him fighting for a reserve linebacker spot. His lack of size an inability to contribute in the base defense make him expendable.

77. Chris Barker (24), OG – The most anonymous member of the Patriots 53 man roster last season has maintained his anonymity during the summer. Barker has been passed on the depth chart by Josh Kline, Jordan Devey, as well as rookie Jon Halapio. Barker has a full year in the system under his belt, so he could make his way to the practice squad after he clears waivers.

76. Steve Maneri (26), TE  - He was signed off the streets last week and put in a near impossible position to succeed. Besides running the wrong route early in the game, Maneri actually played okay considering the circumstances. He’s solely a blocking Tight End and doesn’t have much upside. The former Offensive Tackle turned Tight End could be re-signed at various points in the season when injuries strike, but for right now the Patriots need more for the position.

Unlikely to Make the 53 Man Roster (Practice Squad is a possibility)

75. Taylor McCullers (24), LB/FB – Undrafted free agent from Division II West Texas A&M has been a man without a position in camp. Coach Belichick recently said “Taylor has a long way to go” and while it’s encouraging to see his versatility there isn’t room for pet-projects on this Super Bowl ready team.

74. Ben Bass (24), DT – Patriots were a little desperate for Defensive Line depth last week which led them to acquire Bass from the Dallas Cowboys. They obviously liked him enough to sacrifice a young, depth Cornerback option in Justin Green to acquire him. Bass won’t make the final 53, but should secure a spot on the practice squad with a good showing in the final two pre-season games.

73. Dax Swanson (23), CB – Swanson was one of the standouts in Mini-Camp and OTA’s according to people that watched those practices. He entered camp with the expectation of fighting for the 5th cornerback spot and really hasn’t done much to distinguish himself this summer. Malcolm Butler quickly caught and passed him on the depth chart. It now looks like Swanson will be only a practice squad candidate.

72. Jonas Gray (24), RB – Gray has impressed in reserve duties during the first two preseason games. He’s broke off a few long runs and looks more agile than expected for a back of his build. Right now there isn’t room on the roster for another back, but if Stevan Ridley goes down during the season Gray could make his way back to New England.

71. Travis Hawkins (23), CB – Prior to the start of camp I heard positive things about both Hawkins and Malcolm Butler from people inside the organization. Hawkins hasn’t matched Butler’s level of play, but he’s performed well enough to warrant a practice squad spot. He’s shown the versatility to play both safety and cornerback, something Bill Belichick values greatly.

70. Marcus Forston (24), DT – Looks like the end of the road for Marcus Forston in New England. After spending two seasons shuttling between the streets, the practice squad, and brief appearances on the active roster Forston has plateau’d. He hasn’t developed into the rotational defensive tackle the team had hoped and he’s been replaced by as many as three players ahead of him on the depth chart.

69. Jeremy Gallon (24), WR – Gallon was finally activated off the PUP list earlier this week, but it will be impossible to make up enough ground to win a roster spot. The Patriots used a 7th Round pick on Gallon, making it very likely he’ll be on the practice squad if he makes it through waivers. Gallon can provide depth at slot receiver as he develops within the organization.

68. Kanorris Davis (24), SAF – The safety position opposite Devin McCourty is still wide open and quite frankly a concern. If Davis were able to contribute to the base or sub-package defense he’d have a great chance to make the roster. The fact that he’s a Special Teams only safety makes it difficult to keep him on the roster, especially since Nate Ebner plays a similar role. The Patriots simply need more Safeties that can play on both special teams and in the base defense.

Bubble Players 

67. Danny Aiken (25), LS – He’s not a bubble player because he officially “won” the long snapper job this week with the release of Tyler Ott. Not a fan of ranking long snappers and wish the NFL created a roster exemption so they didn’t count against the 53 man roster or the 46 man game day rosters.

66. DJ Williams (25), TE – “You can’t make the club if you’re in the tub”. With the lack of depth and the injury situation that hit the Patriots during training camp Williams had a huge opportunity to showcase his skills and win a roster spot. He’s done neither and because of injuries he hasn’t even been on the field in over two weeks. The Patriots need better from this position group.

65. Tyler Gaffney (23), RB (IR)- He could be higher on this list based on talent, opportunity, and the fact that he’ll be around into next summer. Gaffney was picked up with the intention of stashing him on Injured Reserve until next season. He’s better than some of the other backs currently on the roster, but the Patriots will have to wait awhile to see him on the field.

64. Jordan Devey (26), OL – Devey was on the field for every snap vs. Philadelphia last week, but his performance left a lot to be desired. He can play multiple positions on the offensive line, but his ceiling is that of a reserve lineman. He’s already 26 years old and probably won’t be getting much better. I don’t think the Patriots keep him over the younger offensive linemen whom they invested a draft pick on.

63. Jake Bequette (25), DE – Bequette is more than halfway through his third training camp and has yet to do anything memorable in his time with the Patriots. It’s just not going to happen for him in New England and it’s probably in the best interest of both parties if they go their separate ways.

62. Will Smith (33), DL – Smith has been a disappointment thus far during the preseason. The Patriots signed Smith to boost the pass rush and provide some experience at a position where it was sorely needed. When he’s been on the field he’s been used mostly as a 3-4 Defensive End and hasn’t looked particularly dangerous rushing the passer. At this point it’s 50-50 whether he even makes the final roster.

61. Chris White (25), LB – Good special teams player and a horrible defensive player. White is incapable of playing linebacker in meaningful situations and was exploited badly vs. Philadelphia during the second half. His Special Teams ability might get him on the roster, but I think the Patriots can do a lot better adding to their linebacker depth.

60. Roy Finch (22), RB – Finch has looked dynamic and explosive with the ball in his hands. He adds a dimension to the backfield that the Patriots don’t currently have and he can return kicks. The problem is he’s very raw and the Patriots will have to live with the growing pains if he’s on the roster. He probably ends up on the practice squad and gets called up later in the season when he’s settled in a little bit more.

59. Tavon Wilson (24), SAF – Started to build a little momentum and was carving out a Strong Safety type role for himself in the early parts of camp. Now he’s injured again and forced to make up more ground. The bottom line is this kid will never live up to the expectations of a second round pick and it was probably counter productive to his career to make him a 2nd round pick. No one else in the NFL thought he was even worthy of a 4th round selection, so expecting Tavon Wilson to be something that he isn’t probably wasn’t fair from the start. I honestly don’t know if he’s on the team or not, but the new practice squad rules help him greatly.

58. Steve Beauharnais (24), LB – Beauharnais has been inconsistent during game play, but he’s probably earned some more time to keep developing in the Patriots system. He’s one of the only players on the roster than can step into the inside linebacker role and play a large volume of snaps if someone were to go down. He’s far from a finished product, but he’s shown flashes of being a depth NFL linebacker.

57. Darius Fleming (25), LB – For a player coming off two ACL surgeries and over two years of relative inactivity he’s played better than anticipated. He’s performed well against the run and is strong at the line of scrimmage taking on blocks. He’ll struggle in coverage, but he’s probably the best option on the current roster for one of the final linebacker spots.

56. Brian Tyms (25), WR – Tyms looks like a tremendous early summer find. He’s stood out in both preseason games and ProFootballFocus has him ranked as the top WR performer through the first two games. Tyms is a great story, but until he gets reps with Tom Brady and has success vs. top tier defenders people need to manage expectations. He’s going to stick around for at least the first part of the season until his suspension is up. There can’t be a drop off in production during these next two games if he wants to be here after his suspension.

55. Joe Vellano (25), DL – It’s going to be tough for Joe Vellano to win a job out of camp this year. The Patriots have more depth at the position including a first round selection, a former second round pick whom was just acquired, and two defensive tackles who outperformed Vellano late last season. If Vellano is waived there is a good chance he’ll land on his feet with another team. If not he’ll be back here on the practice squad for sure.

54. Brandon Bolden (24), RB – Still an enigma and oft-injured. Bolden looked good on his limited carries the other night, but still has a tendency to bounce runs to the outside and not take what is blocked. I still don’t think he’s a sure thing to make the roster.

53. Jon Halapio (23), OG – Halapio, a 6th round pick out of Florida, has been up and down during training camp. He’s a better run blocker than pass blocker and brings some toughness to the interior offensive line. He’s on the roster bubble, but ultimately I think he makes it over 2nd year OL Jordan Devey.

52. Jemea Thomas (24), DB – Missed the first three weeks of camp with an undisclosed injury, so he has plenty of ground to make up. It’s a positive sign that he was part of the top Special Teams units during his first game action vs. the Eagles. He offers more versatility than other defensive back prospects vying for a roster spot and was one of the best special teams players in the draft.

51. Patrick Chung (27), SAF – Chung still has the same flaws in his game that he revealed during his first stay in New England, but he’s getting major reps with the starters and adds some experience to a group without a proven player. Chung is one of the toughest roster calls on the entire roster and I could envision either scenario playing out. Right now I believe he’s one of the last players on the final roster

50. Ryan Wendell (28), OC – Plenty of omnious signs abound for last year’s starting Center. Despite the fact he was resigned in the off-season, his roster spot is in major jeopardy. Dan Connolly has been taking the first team snaps and Wendell is playing into the fourth quarter. Not to mention Bryan Stork needs to work his way into the rotation as he’s the eventual starter. Wendell is on the outside looking in.

49. Zach Moore (23), DE –  Moore has played major snaps during the preseason in an effort to integrate him to the NFL game. In all likelihood he’s on the 53 man roster, but it’s unlikely he’ll be active on game days until he’s fully adjusted to the NFL game.

48. Josh Kline (24), OG – The Patriots coaches and front office spoke highly of Kline all off-season. He entered camp with an inside track toward a roster spot, but I’m not sure he’s outperformed his competitors. These next two games will go a long way to determining how the reserve offensive line slots are awarded. He might not be the lock that everyone predicts him to be.

47. Michael Buchanan (23), DE – Buchanan is another player with inconsistencies in his game. The Patriots could really use his pass rush ability on 3rd downs, but he’s such a liability vs. the run that it’s difficult to rely on him. Unless something changes he’s probably on the roster because there aren’t many alternatives that are immediately known. With that being said it wouldn’t surprise if he’s cut at the end of August.

46. Jerel Worthy (24), DL – It’s impossible to project Worthy or what he’ll bring to the Patriots without seeing him play extended reps during these next two games. He’s ranked this high based on a number of factors including what he showed in college, his versatility, and the fact he’s a better fit in the Patriots 4-3 front.

45. Josh Boyce (23), WR – He’s become a popular “cut” throughout media roster projections. He hasn’t been great during training camp and still makes some mental mistakes, but if the Patriots cut him they better be ready to lose him. Unlike other players on the roster bubble, Boyce will not clear waivers. There’s a very good chance he’s claimed at the top of the waiver chain. If he makes it to the Dolphins or the Jets they’d definitely grab him. Boyce’s speed and ability to return kicks are skills this team needs. There is still time for him to cement his spot and ultimately I think he sticks around.

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Tags: Jimmy Garoppolo, Malcolm Butler

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:

    TIME TO CUT JAMES WHITE THE BUST. TIME TO CALL OUT MIKE LOYKO FOR BEING WRONG. WHAT A GREAT TALENT EVALUATOR. NOT!

    • greg says:

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

      HAHAHAHAHAAAAH!! GRAAAHAHAHAHAAH!!

    • 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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