One day after ending their 2015 preseason, the New England Patriots began trimming their roster because by tomorrow 4:00 p.m. ET the team has to be under the regular season roster limit of 53. To get there, the Patriots made 12 transactions today:
CB Justin Coleman
TE Jake Bequette (from injured reserve)
RB Tony Creecy
WR Zach D'Orazio
WR DaVaris Daniels
OG Ryan Groy (injury designation)
OT Caylin Hauptmann
QB Ryan Lindley
OT Chris Martin
LB James Morris
DT A.J. Pataiali'i
DT Casey Walker
The moves put the Patriots' roster at 66. Therefore, the team has to make 13 more transactions to get under the limit. One of those transactions will be placing running back LeGarrette Blount, who is suspended for the first game of the season, on the exempt/suspended list.
Let's take a closer look at today's transactions.
CB Justin Coleman: The 22-year old undrafted rookie out of Tennessee won't challenge the top of the Patriots' cornerback depth chart, as Malcolm Butler, Tarell Brown and Bradley Fletcher are the starters at this point. This means that Coleman competes with Robert McClain for the fifth role previously held by rookie Darryl Richards, who was placed on injured reserve after the Patriots' third preseason game. A possible core special teamer, Coleman making the 53-man roster would not be that big of a surprise.
TE Jake Bequette: Releasing Bequette with an injury settlement means that he won't spend 2015 on the Patriots' injured reserve and that, subsequently, the former third round pick's tenure in New England is officially over. The former defensive end is a good athlete but was unable to crack the rotation on defense and offense.
RB Tony Creecy: The 23-year old was signed on August 10 and was unable to make an impression. He had one carry in the preseason and did not pick up a yard. Safe to say, the writing was on the wall that he wasn't going to make the team. He might make the practice squad, though.
WR Zach D'Orazio: Just like Creecy, D'Orazio was unable to leave a mark in New England, even after fellow receivers Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Aaron Dobson all missed time due to injury. Being a rookie, he is eligible for the Patriots' practice squad.
WR DaVaris Daniels: Picked up prior to the fourth preseason game, Daniels was a long-shot to make the roster from the moment he entered Gillette Stadium. The rookie did not touch the ball during his lone game in New England and could, just like D'Orazio, join the 10 player practice squad.
OG Ryan Groy: Groy was acquired via trade from the Chicago Bears (for linebacker Matt Wells) when the Patriots' offensive line was struggling with injuries. With the unit getting healther, the 24-year old offensive lineman became expendable. Since he was waived with an injury designation, he will join the injured reserve unless claimed by another team.
OT Caylin Hauptmann: Two-time Super Bowl winner Caylin Hauptmann's tenure in New England is over. Just like Groy, he falls victim to the offensive line nearing full strength. He is still eligible to return to the practice squad, though, to have a chance to help the team defend its title and earn himself a third championship ring.
QB Ryan Lindley: Lindley, who played every offensive snap yesterday, did his job in New England: backing up Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. With Brady's supension overturned, Lindley's services were no longer needed, even though he could still return via the practice squad.
OT Chris Martin: Just like Lindley, the 25-year old played every offensive snap yesterday, and just like the quarterback, he struggled (and might join the practice squad). This is not the only reason for his release, though. With Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon and Cameron Fleming on the roster, there was just not enough space for another offensive tackle.
LB James Morris: The biggest surprise of the day. Morris led the Patriots in defensive snaps played and tackles during the preseason and looked like a sure-fire member of the opening day roster. Still, that didn't save him from getting the ax. The team will likely try to sneak Morris to its practice squad, though. Fellow linebackers Jonathan Freeny and Darius Fleming are the beneficiaries of this move.
DT A.J. Pataiali'i: Like Chris Martin or Caylin Hauptmann, the 24-year old fell victim to the numbers game at his position. Sealver Siliga, Malcom Brown and a healthy Dominique Easley sit safely atop the defensive tackle depth chart and Alan Branch has the best chance of joining them. Neither Pataiali'i nor...
DT Casey Walker: ...were real threats to steal a roster spot. Just like Pataiali'i, the 25-year old Walker is practice squad eligible.