Throughout the day today, the Patriots have continued to inform players of their release as the team must have their roster trimmed to 53 players by the 6:00 PM ET deadline.
Players that have reportedly been released include defensive end/linebacker Eric Moore; running backs Sammy Morris and Eric Kettani; defensive linemen Landon Cohen, Alex Silvestro, Aaron Lavarias, and Markell Carter, linebacker Niko Koutouvides, tight end Lee Smith, and safety Brandon Meriweather, as was previously reported. Credit goes to Ian Rapoport for most of those names, you can follow him on twitter for breaking news regarding any moves the Pats make.
The two big names on that list, aside from Meriweather who we already discussed, are defensive end Eric Moore and running back Sammy Morris.
Eric Moore is a player who performed really well at the end of last year as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Many expected him to step up and become a starter at the position. When the Patriots began the transition to more 4-man fronts, Moore continued to line up with the starters at defensive end. However, the team brought in the likes of Andre Carter, Mark Anderson, and Shaun Ellis. Those three players are all better pass rushing options. Moore was a guy who was good at a lot of things, but not great at anything. He was outperformed in the preseason by those players. The Patriots could have elected to keep an extra defensive end around, but my feeling is that the team felt that Shaun Ellis / Mike Wright would be playing more defensive end than defensive tackle in the 4-3, making Moore expendable.
The release of veteran running back Sammy Morris release isn't a major surprise, although I had him on my 53 man prediction and I thought he had a chance to make the squad. At 34 years old, Morris wasn't going to be expected to carry the load. However, his versatility as a halfback, fullback, and special teams player made him worthwhile to keep. Nonetheless, the Patriots are moving on from Morris who had been with the team since 2007. I'm sure the team will keep him at the top of their emergency list. The team is now likely to go into the season with four running backs: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley, and Shane Vereen. Kevin Faulk is expected to start the year on the reserve/PUP list.