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Belichick Weighs In On Waters, Demps, Mallett, Roster Cuts


The Patriots conducted a rare Sunday morning practice on the confines of Gillette Stadium just exactly one week away from their season opening game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.

New England head coach Bill Belichick, as he does before every practice, addressed the media. His press conference today was unlike any other he's had in a while. Today, he was asked by several members of the media questions about the current 53-man roster, as well as other players he decided to cut ties with.

The first notable question that was asked was the inevitable one about Brian Waters, who is still absent from the team. Apparently nothing has changed. When asked about the veteran Pro Bowl guard, Belichick confirmed that he still wasn't here, and that he only wanted to talk about "guys we have here."

As for the other questions that came about, the topic of Jeff Demps came up. As a part of roster cutdowns, the former Olympic runner and University of Florida running back was placed on Injured Reserve. With new IR rule changes coming into play this year, each team is allowed to bring one player back from the IR after six weeks of sitting out. Belichick ended speculation that Demps could end up being that guy on Sunday:

"You would have to carry that player on the 53-man roster. You couldn't put him on injured reserve, not counted him [against the 53-man limit], then designated him to come back," Belichick explained. "In Jeff's case, he was never really on the 53-man roster. He placed on IR as part of the cutdown."

Belichick also weighed in on the state of backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, who is now THE guy if Tom Brady is injured. Said Belichick of Mallett: "He's in the on-deck circle. He's the next guy. ... He's earned that spot now."

The Patriots head coach also touched on the process he goes through cutting players. Over the weekend, Belichick decided to release well respected veterans Deion Branch and Brian Hoyer, as well as 20 other players. He said thisabout how difficult it was for him to cut some of these players:

"It's the hardest part of the job to take players that have played for you, won for you, and players that have been here since the spring, the whole offseason, done everything we asked them to do, worked hard, sweated, been banged up, kept going out there, kept playing, kept trying to do everything they could to make the team, to do everything we asked them to do, to do it with a team-first attitude and fashion. To tell those players that they can't be part of the team, that's very difficult," Belichick said. "On the other hand, we all know when we get into this business that that's the way it's gonna be."