Monthly Archives: August 2019

New England Patriots Roster Projection-Final

A little late on this and since things are happening as we speak, we’d better get cracking!!

Offense:

QB (3):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham

In:  Brian Hoyer

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

Comments:  I’d personally cut Hoyer.  Even if Stidham isn’t completely ready, it’s not like the Pats are winning a Super Bowl with Hoyer if Brady goes down.  Besides, couldn’t you get him, or someone like him, off the streets if something catastrophic happens to Brady?  I think so.  But alas, the Pats won’t do it…I don’t feel like it anyway.

RB (5):

Locks:  Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, James Develin (FB)

In:  None

Out:  Jakob Johnson (FB)

Way Out:  Nick Brossette

Practice Squad:  Johnson

Comments:  Pretty easy here.  Burkhead didn’t sniff the field last night, so I imagine he gets back up to the “lock” category.  Johnson won’t count against the 10-man practice squad limit as an international signing.  Plus, he played some linebacker last night.  So he will ultimately stick in this capacity.

WR (6):

Locks:  Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett

In:  Jakobi Meyers

Out:  Braxton Berrios, Gunner Olszewski

Way Out:  Damoun Patterson, Ryan Davis

PUP:  Cameron Meredith

Practice Squad:  Berrios, Olszewski

Comments:  Big change from the last projection.  Didn’t think Gordon and Thomas would be there for Game 1 with their respective situations.  And with Dorsett not playing last night, that pretty much makes him a lock.  Meyers probably did enough this preseason that he won’t slip through waivers to the practice squad.  Berrios has been all hype, no results for 2 preseasons now.  Gunner is a nice story, but there is no room.  He should be able to work on his skills on the practice squad.  Played cornerback in college and found himself there in the second half last night.  So he could be one of those jack of all trade guys to reach down and get as needed.  Big fall for Maurice Harris as well.  Big time hype all offseason and into the preseason games, disappointed a bit on the field, got hurt and was released a week or so ago.

TE (2):

Locks:  None

In:  Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo

Out:  Stephen Anderson, Eric Saubert, Andrew Beck

Way Out:  None

Suspended:  Benjamin Watson (4 games), Lance Kendricks (1 game)

Practice Squad:  Beck

Comments:  LaCosse hasn’t played much, but again…the contract.  Izzo didn’t play last night, so that tells me he is in.  I’m not sure Anderson has practice squad eligibility, but if he does he could end up there.  Beck can play fullback apparently, so that may get him on the p-squad himself.

OL (8):

Locks:  Isaiah Wynn (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), Ted Karras (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT),

In:  Korey Cunningham (T), Jermaine Eluemunor (G), Russell Bodine (C)

Out:  James Ferentz (C), Dan Skipper (T), Cole Croston (T)

Way Out:  Tyler Gauthier (C), Martez Ivey (T), Cedrick Lang (T), Tyree St. Louis (T)

IR:  David Andrews (C), Hjalte Froholdt (G)

NFI:  Yodny Cajuste (T)

Practice Squad:  Skipper, Croston, Ferentz

Comments:  Huge changes here as well since the last projection.  Bill apparently saw enough of Skipper, Croston and Ferentz this preseason to realize they are not the answer to anything.  Combined with the unexpected and unfortunate medical situation of Andrews, the Pats made trades for the three offensive linemen in the “in” category.  The compensation given up would seem to indicate they all make the squad despite not really seeing them play.  We noticed Froholdt a little bit this preseason, not necessarily a good thing for an O-Lineman.  So his injury last night would seem to have come at a fortuitous time for both he and the team.

Defense:

DE (4):

Locks:  Michael Bennett, John Simon, Chase Winovich

In:  Deatrich Wise

Out:  None

Way Out:  Nick Thurman

IR:  Derek Rivers, Keionta Davis

Comments:  A lot of talk about Wise not making the cut.  And his inclusion in the game yesterday may not be a good sign.  But he has some talent, so I am not sure he gets tossed aside so easily.  Rivers is hurt…again…and that may buy him another year.  But there is the possibility the Pats just cut bait and let him have a fresh start elsewhere.  I thought the Pats released Davis, but he shows up on their roster as being on injured reserve, so there’s that.

DT (4):

Locks:  Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Danny Shelton

In:  Byron Cowart

Out:  Ufomba Kamalu, David Parry, Trent Harris

Way Out:  None

Practice Squad:  Harris

Comments:  Shelton was such a non-factor last season that it was kind of a shock he was eventually re-signed.  It will be an even bigger shock when he makes the team.  Both he and Cowart apparently played their way on to the team this preseason, making arguably the Patriots’ biggest free agent signing, Mike Pennel, expendable and released already like a week ago.

LB (5):

Locks:  Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Elandon Roberts

In:  None

Out:  Calvin Munson, Christian Sam, Scooby Wright

Way Out:  Terez Hall

IR:  Shilique Calhoun

Practice Squad:  Munson

Comments:  Some big buzz around Munson, but I don’t see it.  Yeah, I suppose it is as a special teamer, to replace a guy like Brandon King.  But my sense is he could go through easily to the practice squad and you could go get him when you really need him.

CB (6):

Locks:  Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams

In:  Keion Crossen

Out:  Ken Webster

Way Out:  None

IR:  D’Angelo Ross

Traded:  Duke Dawson

Practice squad:  Webster

Comments:  Rapid fall for Dawson.  Second round pick last year then got hurt and missed most of the year.  When he got healthy, he couldn’t crack the active roster.  Then the Pats took Williams in the second round this year and all of a sudden he gets dealt for like 20 cents on the dollar today to Denver.  Ouch.  At least they got something.  Crossen has been a mixed bag defensively this preseason, but they also like him on special teams.  And you know how Bill feels about his special teamers.

S (4):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrance Brooks

In:  None

Out:  Obi Melifonwu

Way Out:  A.J. Howard

IR:  Malik Gant

Practice Squad:  Melifonwu

Comments:  Moved Brooks to safety in this projection.  That is his primary position, but it seems the team will spot him at safety some too.  Gant got carted off last night, so he gets to go on IR instead of the street.  Chung’s legal issues won’t likely affect him this year.  Not sure if Obi is eligible for the P-squad but if he is, I think he will be there…unless he is claimed by another team of course.

Specialists (6):

Locks:  Stephen Gostkowski (K), Jake Bailey (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST)

In:  None

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

IR:  Brandon King

Comments:  Not much to say here.  We already knew Bailey beat out incumbent Ryan Allen.  We will always have last years’ Super Bowl Ryan!!

Lots of moving pieces still to come.  But this is where I see it for now.

Still Waiting…

…for ANY significant move by the Boston Bruins this summer.

Wait, why the hell are we talking about the Bruins in August?

Easy.

The Red Sox are done…and we’ve covered them more than enough based on that fact alone.  The Celtics have done absolutely nothing of note since we last wrote about them about a month ago.  We chatted about the Patriots last week, but what more is to say about a team one week into the preseason schedule?  Nothing.  Well, Danny Etling just got released.  Guess he isn’t the next Julian Edelman.  Whatever…

And if you want me to comment on Tom Brady’s contract “extension” then you came to the wrong place.  Go hit the local radio airwaves if you want non-stop chatter about that.  Who cares if he is selling his house?  Furthermore, do people realize that going into next season Brady will be 43 YEARS OLD?!

Listen, the guy is a legend and likely the greatest NFL player of all time.  But if you are asking me to worry about a 43-year-old QB, you came to the wrong place.  I love the guy as much as anyone.  But we really don’t know how much he has left.  He could plummet as soon as this year.  After all, Bill Belichick has seemingly “loaded up” on the running game, defense and has like 10 mediocre (ie:  “blocking”) tight ends in camp now.  Oh, and not many receivers either.  Looks like he may be thinking ahead about Brady regressing, no?

In any event, SHOULDN’T you go “year to year” with a guy like that?  Yup.  And if he is pissed, well, I am sorry.  He could’ve battled the Pats harder over the years to get more money if that is the underlying issue.  And maybe he absolutely should have.  But since he didn’t, why are we talking about it now?

Some of the greats finished their careers on other teams.  Maybe Brady does too.  I really don’t think he will be going anywhere.  Highly doubt it.  But I am not sure the topic is even worth discussing at this point.  Let’s see how this season plays out at age 42 and then take it from there.

Ugh…I know, I just got caught up in it…

As for the B’s…well, despite the run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season, as far as I am concerned, there is a great reason to be well, concerned.

Why?

I will tell you.  Did you think otherwise??!!

Here’s the first reason(s):  Maxime Lagace, Brendan Gaunce, Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm, Pavel Shen…

These guys are the free agents brought in by the team since the start of the signing period.

Who??!!

You may be like, “well, they only lost Noel Acciari (replaceable) and Marcus Johansson (oft-injured and expensive)”, so they are basically bringing the whole team back that came within a game of winning the whole thing!”

And I will retort, “it was a huge f’ng mistake to bring back basically the entire team after actual championships for the 2019 Boston Red Sox and 2012 Boston Bruins, did we forget??  Complacency, fatigue, all that crap??”

But that isn’t even the biggest issue.

The B’s still have 2 kind of huge restricted free agents sitting out there in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

Ok, nevermind.  The re-signing of Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton should offset that.

HAHAHAHAHAHA…just kidding my friends!!

I’m still not even sure why they re-signed Kampfer.  To a TWO year deal, to boot.  Assuming the two aforementioned d-men come back in the fold, Kampfer will then be at least the eighth defenseman.  Well, I guess ninth, now that they re-signed Clifton too?  Then they have some kids in Providence that seem to be on the cusp of the NHL, such as Urho Vaakanainen?  Maybe Jeremy Lauzon too, but perhaps not Jakub Zboril…

I don’t get it.

Maybe that means they are dangling some of the “top seven”?  McAvoy, I would doubt.  Carlo too.  No one wants John Moore’s contract.  Or Kevan Millar’s injury history.  Someone would take Zdeno Chara, despite his age, but he is going nowhere.  Matty Grzelcyk?  Sure.  But what happens if Torey Krug leaves after the upcoming season as a free agent?  Gryz may be a natural replacement…and far cheaper.

Trade Krug before he walks away for nothing?  Something I would strongly consider.  But all indications are that the team has no interest in that.  And Krug wants to be here.  So maybe he signs a “team-friendly” extension at some point.

There are a lot of capable D-men signed.  And let’s face it, Carlo and McAvoy will eventually sign as well.  Their options seem to be kind of limited.  I just read where Chaz can’t even sign an offer sheet with anyone.  Had no idea about that.  In any event, it’s nice to have depth.  But 10-11 deep?  I don’t know.  And please don’t give me, “well they used 12 defensemen last year…”  That has to be an aberration.  Plus, Urho and Zboril only played 2 games apiece, so really it was 10.

All that being said, they can keep all these D-men if they want.  It won’t hurt them, no question.

In net, expect a regression from Tuukka Rask.  Bet on it.  But at least he and Jaroslav Halak should form a pretty good one-two punch in goal…at least for the regular season.

Me?  This would appear to be a GREAT time to trade Tuuks (would be even better if the Bruins won the Cup, but alas…).  But we already know that ain’t happening.

Forwards?  Ugh…this is where the issues lie.

As noted above, the B’s signed a bunch of 4th liners/Providence type dudes.  Not scintillating to any degree.

Oh, and they made sure they gave Danton Heinen 2.8 per for the next 2 years.  Why?  You got me.  They love the guy though.  I guess he plays awesome defense.  Because he is less than mediocre on offense.  At least last year he was…and he got some run on the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand line.  Not good.

So we still have that Bergy/Marchy/David Pastrnak line.  All well and good.

But here we go with the second line issues again.  David Krejci centering Jake DeBrusk and…who?  I guess the leader in the clubhouse would have to be Karson Kuhlman.  Kid showed some flashes.  But are we ready to anoint him?

I think we can assume Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen make up 2/3 of the 3rd line.  With Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom starting out as the 4th line.  In my eyes anyway.

So who gets that last spot on the third line?

Would you believe David Backes and his 6 mil per year are still around?  I am absolutely astonished at this fact.  He should have been bought out the first day that was possible.  At this point, is a buyout still even an option?  The front office has led us to believe that he will not be bought out.  Why is this?

So Backes HAS to get that spot, no?  What, are they going to waive him (of course he will clear) and send him to Providence?  Healthy scratch every night?  No and no.

This absolutely pains me.  I understand that General Manager Don Sweeney probably doesn’t want to eat 3 mil the next two years against the cap (half of Backes’ salary, which is what I think would be the case on the buyout…but maybe I’m wrong).  And I get it, as they already have a smidge over 3 mil in dead cap money for the upcoming season tied to former greats Matt Beleskey and Dennis Seidenberg.  Actually, Seids was pretty good.  I just thought this wording was smooth!  And Beleskey did suck badly.  Anyway…

Then all these other guys apparently are out of luck.  Ritchie, Lindholm, Shen, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, blah, blah, blah…I guess we don’t really care unless Bjork or Cehlarik or a guy like Jake Studnicka (a new “name” that has picked up some steam recently) can, you know, actually play.

I don’t know man…I would have loved to have seen a little turnover in the forward group.  A little more turnover overall actually.  There is limited cap room to sign McAvoy and Carlo.  Not only should Backes be gone, but one would figure there would be other trades to free up room.

But nothing…yet.  And I don’t feel like that other proverbial “shoe to drop” is going to happen.  I was absolutely convinced it would in June.  Doesn’t seem that way now.

It has been eerily quiet over there, however.  Does that mean that this could be a calm before the storm?  I truly do not think so.  But something has to give with those two D-men needing to re-up.

There is still some offseason left.  I won’t completely lambaste the front office at this point.  But it’s clear I am leaning that way.

Hope I’m wrong.  Goes without saying, I guess…

New England Patriots Roster Projection

It’s that time of year again…well, actually, I am a little late.  The first preseason game is tonight.  I guess I was just a little preoccupied with the Boston Red Sox’ collapse.  In any event, let’s dive right in:

Offense:

QB (3):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham

In:  Brian Hoyer

Out:  Danny Etling (WR??!)

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Some reports in camp have suggested Stidham is has outplayed Hoyer and that could make Hoyer expendable.  While outplaying Hoyer may not be that difficult, I am not ready to push him off the roster quite yet…despite the silly 3 mil cap hit.  Etling all of a sudden is a wide receiver I guess.  So much for him making much noise.  And please, no more about Brady’s contract…or him selling his house in MA.  As much as we all love him, he SHOULD be year to year.  Going into next season he will be 43 years old for Chrissakes.  Despite how he has seemed to defy Father Time, one never knows when the end will come.  He has said it himself, he is in uncharted territory.  I’d love to have him as long as he is…well…Tom Brady.  But how much longer will that be?

RB (5):

Locks:  Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris, James Develin (FB)

In:  Rex Burkhead

Out:  None

Way Out:  Nick Brossette, Jakob Johnson (FB)

Comments:  Have a funny feeling Rex is a little bit on the bubble here.  I like the guy when he is healthy.  A lot actually.  But sometimes that is a big “if”.  And 4 pure running backs sometimes can be a bit steep.  Especially when there are other question marks on the roster.  But, in the end, Michel can be a bit of a question mark with regard to injury as well.  And Harris is still unproven.  So I am not sure Rex is in any real danger.  Yet.  I don’t know who Brossette is.  And Johnson will end up on the practice squad as their one “international signing” or some crap like that.  In any event, he doesn’t count against any part of the roster I hear, so off to the practice squad you go.

WR (4):

Locks:  Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry

In:  Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris

Out:  Jakobi Meyers, Dontrelle Inman, Braxton Berrios, Damoun Patterson

Way Out:  Ryan Davis, Gunner Olszewski

PUP:  Demaryius Thomas, Cameron Meredith

Suspended:  Josh Gordon

Comments:  Your guess is as good as mine!!!  Edelman…yup.  And the first rounder Harry.  Then…I have no f’n idea!!  Dorsett would seem to have the inside track as someone that has been here for 2 years.  And seems to be liked by everyone, despite not doing much on the field.  Harris was an early camp favorite, so he would seem to be in the lead.  But now comes…Jakobi Meyers!!  An undrafted free agent (and you know the Pats need to keep one to four of those!), all of a sudden he is the receiver that “Brady is the most comfortable with”.  OK.  There have been no games yet.  So I am pumping the brakes on that.  Inman I don’t think has practiced, but I could be wrong.  Berrios seems to get some buzz all the time, but is it actually translating?  The club just signed Meredith (can anyone say “Malcolm Mitchell”?), but with his injury history, I am not giving him a spot yet either.  You can bet Gordon will have a spot if he gets cleared.  But that may be a ways away if it does actually happen.  There will be some moving parts around this position during the exhibition season, you can count on that much.

TE (2):

Locks:  None

In:  Matt LaCosse, Lance Kendricks

Out:  Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck

Way Out:  None

Suspended:  Benjamin Watson

Comments:  Speaking of moving parts…I have no idea here.  LaCosse would seem to be a lock because of the contract they gave him.  But you never know.  Kendricks is kind of here by default.  Izzo and Beck?  Who knows?  Anderson could make some noise too.  I.  Just.  Don’t.  Know.

OL (7):

Locks:  Isaiah Wynn (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT),

In:  Hjalte Froholdt (G), Ted Karras (G/C),

Out:  James Ferentz (C),

Way Out:  Tyler Gauthier (C), Martez Ivey (T), Cedrick Lang (T), Dan Skipper (T), Tyree St. Louis (T)

NFI:  Yodny Cajuste (T)

Comments:  Thin.  There will be some moves here at the end of camp.  I’d bet my house on that.  Well, I won’t do that.  But I feel pretty good about it.  No one knows if Wynn can do the job.  But I don’t think they are rushing out to get Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins.  Too much dough.  AND…he wants more.  So I guess it’s Wynn or Thuney at left tackle.  We will see what happens.  Dan Skipper has gotten some run at first team left tackle I guess.  Apparently, the guy is a monster (physically folks!).  But also apparently, he has been on like 10 teams in his career and also has been turnstiled in camp as well.  How’s that for confidence?  A couple of veterans have signed and immediately retired.  Seems weird.  Either way, I think we will see some waiver claims here at the end of camp.  Don’t they have to??

Defense:

DE (5):

Locks:  Michael Bennett, Deatrich Wise, John Simon, Chase Winovich

In:  Derek Rivers

Out: Keionta Davis

Way Out:  Nick Thurman

Comments:  Fairly cut and dried here, though Davis was a favorite at times last year.  Think Rivers gets one more year after one year of being hurt and one year of being nondescript.  But with some of the linebackers rushing, never know if he gets phased out like Davis.

DT (4):

Locks:  Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Mike Pennel

In:  Byron Cowart

Out:  Ufomba Kamalu, David Parry, Danny Shelton

Way Out:  Trent Harris

Comments:  I made a joke about Shelton still being available when I did the roster projection in the spring.  I guess the joke is on us that they did actually sign him.  He’s been kind of useless.  The bigger joke will be when he makes the squad over Cowart, who they will inevitably attempt to get on the practice squad.  I can see this happening.

LB (5):

Locks:  Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Elandon Roberts

In:  None

Out:  Christian Sam

Way Out:  Shilique Calhoun, Terez Hall, Calvin Munson

Comments:  Roberts won’t go away.  Pretty obvious the rest of them.  Well, I saw another dudes’ projection that had Calhoun making it.  So I guess I should watch his reps more closely during the preseason games.

CB (7):

Locks:  Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Duke Dawson, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams

In:  Keion Crossen

Out:  Ken Webster

Way Out:  D’Angelo Ross

Comments:  This is a lot to carry at corner.  Perhaps Jones plays some safety, as he did in the Super Bowl.  Or perhaps Crossen gets cut.  But hard to believe after the way they tried to integrate him at times last year.  Maybe one gets traded…but which one?  Have a feeling they go heavy here though.

S (3):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon

In:  None

Out:  Obi Melifonwu

Way Out:  Malik Gant, A.J. Howard

Comments:  I don’t see any other options here.  Again, think some of the corners and perhaps special teamers provide depth here, for better or worse.

Specialists (8):

Locks:  Stephen Gostkowski (K), Jake Bailey (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST), Brandon King (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST), Terrance Brooks (ST)

In:  None

Out:  Ryan Allen (P)

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Drafting a punter in the fifth round seemed to make that decision easy.  Bill loves his special teamers.  I don’t think there is anything else to discuss here.

Let the games begin!!

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