The Cuts are In…

In accordance with the NFL rules, the Patriots cut their roster down to the league mandated 53 players on Saturday evening.  Although a formality every off season, some cuts are expected while others bring along with them big question marks regarding the future of the team.  Notable cuts for New England included Derrick Burgess, Sam Aiken, and Pierre Woods.  Coinciding with released players, safety Brandon McGowan was placed on injured reserve.

An article written by Mike Reiss on ESPNBoston.com brings up some very valid points about the differences in personnel between this season and years past.  Before this season, coach Belichick and the Patriot organization made a living on having immense depth throughout the entire roster.  That afforded them the luxury to deal guys like Richard Seymour, David Thomas, LeKevin Smith, etc. for draft picks.  As we all know, stockpiling draft picks is one of Bill’s favorite pastimes.  But, this season it seems as the Patriots are on the wrong side of the equation.  Depth concerns have led the organization to trade undisclosed draft picks to other teams for players such as Quinn Ojinnaka (OL, Falcons), Jarrad Page (S, Chiefs), and Tracy White (LB, Eagles).  Ojinnaka’s addition provides some much needed depth on the offensive line, while recently acquired Page looks to replace McGowan.  White, on the other hand, was acquired for a 2012 undisclosed draft pick and is expected to contribute on special teams.

The release of Burgess is clearly the most surprising development out of Foxboro.  Not only did the Pats allow Burgess to miss almost the first two weeks of training camp to deal with “personal issues”, but they welcomed him back with open arms and almost immediately inserted him into the starting lineup, opposite of Banta-Cain.  Preseason play made it apparent that Burgess’ transition from defensive end to outside linebacker wasn’t proving to be a successful one (let us remember that Derrick Burgess was acquired from Oakland for a 2010 third and fifth round draft choice!).  Outside linebacker was already a position of need before they released Burgess…

As the roster stands right now, the four outside linebackers remaining are Tully Banta-Cain, Jermaine Cunningham, Marques Murrell, and Rob Ninkovich.  Outside of Banta-Cain, none of the other players have any starting experience in the NFL.  Cunningham has barely played at all this preseason!  With these remaining players, it becomes a necessity that the Pats scour the  waiver wire to try and find some players to help their team.  Luckily for them, there is a decent amount of talent that has become available…but not much at outside linebacker.

Notable Cuts:

Pat White, WR/QB

Myron Rolle, S

Raheem Brock, DE

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR

Justin Hartwig, C

Jarvis Green, DE

Troy Smith, QB

James Hardy, WR

Chad Jackson, WR

Matt Leinart, QB

Chevis Jackson, CB

Jarron Gilbert, DE

Dre Bly, CB

Ladell Betts, RB

Jay Richardson, DE

Nathan Vasher, CB

I’ve bolded the players that I think the Patriots should look at for their need positions.  Much has been made of their depth, or lack there of, on the defensive line.  Who better to fill that void than former Patriot Jarvis Green or jumping-out-of-pool extraordinare Jarron Gilbert?  Cornerback has also become a need position with the loss Leigh Bodden.  Dre Bly is a seasoned veteran that could provide some guidance and leadership for the young corners, while Chevis Jackson is still a relatively young player that could provide some depth.  As for Raheem Brock, he was a pass rushing expert throughout his time in Indianapolis (mainly as a third down substitute) and the Pats could consider transitioning him to outside linebacker to help on passing situations.  Pat White, Myron Rolle, and Justin Hartwig are all very talented players that just could not find a spot on their team’s roster.  Allegedly, the Patriots were looking very much into drafting Pat White in the mid-rounds of the 2009 draft, but the Dolphins grabbed him in the second round.  Myron Rolle is an exceptionally intelligent player, which is just what coach Belichick likes.  Hartwig could possibly help fill the void left by Logan Mankins.

I’m interested to see what moves this team makes within the next few games, amidst preparing for Cincinatti.  But know this, if the Patriots carry their current 53 man roster into the regular season, it is going to be a long 4 ½ months for Patriot fans…

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One Response

  1. I wouldnt mind seeing former Longhorn Nathan Vasher don Patriot attire.

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