September 11, 2011

Preseason Game 4 Notes and Thoughts on Roster Cuts


Another week of inactivity. This time due to moving and a complete lack of any technology (TV & Internet) whatsoever in the new casa. It feels great to be back out of the stone-age. Thoughts on the Patriots' fourth (most irrelevant) pre-season game and subsequent roster cutdown after the jump.

GIANTS 18 - PATRIOTS 17

THE GIANTS DIDN'T PLAY ANYONE

Can you blame them? A: it was the first pre-season game, and B: they had played their third game just three days earlier due to hurricane Irene. No Eli Manning. But a heavy dose of David Carr (who is in fact still alive, much to the surprise of play by play team Don Criqui and Randy Cross, who didn't realize he'd started in place of Manning until the fourth play).

BUT THE PATS SURE DID

And did it a lot. Most key contributors played the entire first and into the second, helping build a 10-3 lead at the end of Q1 and a 17-3 halftime edge against the Big Blue JV squad. Take a look at the snaps some first teamers got:

Quarterback Tom Brady -- 18
Left guard Logan Mankins --- 18
Tight end Rob Gronkowski -- 18
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth -- 16
Tight end Aaron Hernandez -- 13
Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco -- 11

Whether pissed about the Detroit outcome or trying to avoid rust build up from the next 11 days off, its clear the Pats weren't f*cking around.

BRANDON MERIWEATHER WASN'T ONE OF THEM

He played with the backups. Ruh Roh. More on "his swoleness" later.

HAYNESWORTH & ELLIS DEBUT

Ellis looked good, sacking David Carr towards the end of the 2nd at left end on a line also featuring Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, and Andre Carter. Haynesworth also saw his first time and was fairly disruptive up the middle. But, he did look pretty winded at times. Surprising, given his track record for being in excellent shape.

AS DID RAS I DOWLING AND SHANE VEREEN

Both were spotty, playing a lot of minutes with a few bright moments and some rookie mistakes. They're the rawest of the Patriot rookies given their absence from the first 3 due to injury. Vereen can work his way into the system, but I'm concerned that Dowling's inexperience could be exposed in the early going this season, especially with the lack of depth at the Patriot corner position.

LOTS OF PT FOR SOLDER

Solder played nearly the whole game, starting at right tackle, then moving to the left side and even playing guard at one point. He's pretty versatile considering how tall he is, and held his own on the interior. But like Vereen and Dowling he's very raw, making a few mistakes. Again, he's another youngster who could be thrown in the fire early with the lack of depth on the Pats O-line.

MATT SLATER EARNS HIS SPOT

He'll never be a star, but the dude is a great special-teamer (where he's a great cover guy and can fill in as a returner) and made some big yard plays at WR over the fake-season, including a 64 yard catch and run against the Giants.

PEACE OUT BRANDON TATE

Before roster cuts, if I had to be on any one Patriot to be cut, it would've been him. He never figured out the offense, and looked absolutely terrible in the return game (and even worse than against Detroit) with a return out of the end zone to the 9 yard line. He will not be missed.

ROSTER CUTS

THANKS FOR PLAYING

WR Tiquan Underwood
OL Thomas Austin
RB Eric Kettani
DB Ross Ventrone
DE Markell Carter
LB Aaron Lavarias
DE Alex Silvestro
TE Lee Smith
TE Will Yeatman


You might see some of these guys on the practice squad. Anything else? A little too much. But let's at least celebrate Tiquan Underwood's glorious high top.


SAD TO SEE YOU GO

RB Sammy Morris

Morris has been a great teammate and special teamer over the past four years with the Pats. But with four young running backs on roster and Kevin Faulk on the PUP list, there was no room for Morris. If a few backs get injured and he's still available, I imagine he returns to the roster.

THEIR OWN MOTHERS SAW IT COMING

WR Brandon Tate

When you're completely clueless at wide out and/or average -10 yards per kickoff return (not even an exaggeration, because when you take a kick out of the endzone and don't make the twenty you're losing your team yards) odds are you can't make an NFL roster as a wide receiver and return specialist. (Unless its with the Bengals)

CB Darius Butler

Butler shocked everyone when he wasn't cut right away. After all, he's been an absolute wreck since then-Jet Brayon Edwards dougied in his face last year at the Meadowlands. But even with the lack of depth at corner, a liability like Butler can't stick around at least until he can find some confidence. Maybe he'll figure it out in Carolina.

OUT OF THE BLEEPING BLUE

S Brandon Meriweather


By far the most surprising cut of the pre-season, especially after James Sanders was released before week 4. That means the Patriots will be going with Pat Chung and Sergio freaking Brown back deep for week 1 against the Phish. But was it really surprising? Meriweather has never been a great cover guy, and takes terrible pursuit angles. He's known for big, and sometimes dirty hits (ask Todd Heap). And in a league that's beginning to flag and fine hits on defenseless receivers, he doesn't really bring a lot to the gridiron for the Pats.

At least he can focus on his rap career now! (and play for da Bears)

PATS SIGN G BRIAN WATERS, TE DAN GRONKOWSKI

Tough to say if Waters has anything left in the tank, especially when the Chiefs (who have $30 Million in cap space available) released him this off-season. But he's a 5 time pro-bowler and two time all pro. He's at least an upgrade over Dan Connolly (who was abused in the Detroit game).

The Pats also brought in free agent tight end Dan Gronkowski, brother of Pats TE Dan Gronkowski, as their third tight end. Quote of the year from Wes Welker, whose locker is situated between the two Gronks: "I thought it was going to be very interesting, like I was going to have two idiots right next to me on both sides," said Welker, "But the other one is actually pretty bright."

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