This has been an interesting couple of days, to say the least. I'm sure it was more of a barn burner for the players than for us, but it's been interesting, none the less. Intense interest in who stays and who goes defines the highest in football geekness; when your "inner circle" starts asking YOU what's going on, suffice to say you've arrived. ;-)
This is, by no means, THE roster. As you can imagine, it's a fluid thing based on the needs of the team as it moves through the season. In addition, "waived" players from other teams are available to the Patriots as are the players waived by the Patriots, available to other teams. It's entirely possible the Patriots will re-acquire 8 of their waived players for the practice squad once they clear waivers. Who knows. It's all in Scott Pioli's head. Bill says, "Get me people", and Scott gets people. And he's one of the best in the business.
As we march through the new roster, keep in mind we get a very "myopic" view of the players and their performance. We're only allowed limited access during training camp and we get watch the camera angles presented to us by whatever broadcaster is broadcasting the game. Bill and crew have hours upon hours of film as well as hands on experience with every player during training camp. Maybe they know something we don't. ;-)
While rummaging through this story, bring up the list of player who were cut for reference.
Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Kevin O'Connell
Analysis - Cassel, with more experience in the system than any backup, gets a roster spot. Many of us, including myself, have been down on Matty C due to perceived poor performance in preseason games. Our expectations are high; the last backup who stepped in and saved the day was Tom Brady. O'Connell continues to impress and likely sealed the deal as the only player to score touchdowns (1 TD pass and 1 TD rushing) in the Giants preseason game.
Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Heath Evans
Analysis - Kevin Faulk does not count against the roster due to his 1-game suspension. I'm stoked for this crew. BB is trying to emphasize the running game and here's the proof. Couple this with our WR corp and BOOM BABY!!
Sam Aiken, Jabar Gaffney, Chad Jackson, C.J. Jones, Randy Moss, Ray Ventrone, Kelley Washington, Wes Welker
Analysis - Jones earned a spot by doing a heck of a job on kick returns and Ventrone has proved he's an all around guy. Both of these moves could be a result of Welker's rib injury and may indicate a longer recovery for the little engine that can.
Benjamin Watson, David Thomas, Stephen Spach
Analysis - Watson and Thomas were considered locks. Spach is there due to Watson's absence from practice the the preseason finale against the Giants.
Wesley Britt, Dan Connolly, Russ Hochstein, Nick Kaczur, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Billy Yates
Analysis - Connolly gets the nod over vets Mike Flynn and John Welbourn, each with 10 or more years in the biz. To me, this represents a clear desire for more youth on the offensive line. More from JHR, I'm sure.
Jarvis Green, Richard Seymour, Le Kevin Smith, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright
Analysis - No surprises.
Eric Alexander, Tedy Bruschi, Shawn Crable, Gary Guyton, Larry Izzo, Jerod Mayo, Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel, Pierre Woods
Analysis - Victor Hobson is beat out by the rookies; he seemed to have trouble transitioning from OLB in the Jets' 3-4 to ILB in the Patriots' 3-4. At any rate, we get very young with a sprinkling of vets to mentor. Keep your eyes on Woods this season.
Ellis Hobbs, Lewis Sanders, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite
Analysis - We get super young at CB. Wheatley has impressed as has Wilhite. Let's hope they play a little harder than we've seen during the preseason. Bryant "hugging" the Giant into the endzone was not good - gone.
Rodney Harrison, John Lynch, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Matthew Slater
Analysis - Whoa. This looks like a scary group. Experience and youth give them plenty of gas. Harrison, Lynch and Meriweather can all play CB when needed and Lynch projects to play hybrid safety/linebacker during nickel packages.
Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Chris Hanson (punter), Lonie Paxton (long snapper)
Analysis - Duh!