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New England Patriots Roster Projection, v3

Let’s get right to it:

Offense:

QB (2):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

In:  None

Out:  Danny Etling

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Welp, Etling didn’t throw for 600 yards in the finale.  Not only that, but it looks like he stinks.  But it could be also that his receivers stink too.  Maybe they should have drafted the kid the Giants took, Kyle Lauletta, who was linked to the Pats all spring.  Whatever…it was a helluva an 86 yard run by Etling at the end of the game though.  We know Brady ain’t doing that this year.

RB (6):

Locks:  Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel, James Develin

In:  Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee

Out:  Ralph Webb

Way Out:  Henry Poggi, Kenneth Farrow, Khalfani Muhammed

Comments:  Hill is probably a lock actually.  Gillislee did not play in the preseason finale.  Combine that with the uncertain health of Burkhead and Michel and I think he gets on the squad to start the year.  Farrow and Muhammed were signed a couple of days ago…it was nice of the Pats to do that.

WR (4):

Locks:  Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson

In:  Riley McCarron

Out:  Devin Lucien

Way Out:  Paul Turner, K.J. Maye

Suspended:  Julian Edelman

Injured Reserve:  Braxton Berrios

Comments:  As I said in the last projection, it wouldn’t surprise me to see McCarron stick.  And the fact that he didn’t play in last night’s game tells me he makes it…at least at the start.  Maye was signed a few days ago as well.  Good to see him again, as he was with the Pats in the preseason last year.  And I will say that I was shocked as sh&t to find out that Turner actually has some NFL experience from 2016.  But that shouldn’t help him here.

TE (3):

Locks:  Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen

In:  Jacob Hollister

Out:  Will Tye

Way Out:  None

Injured Reserve:  Ryan Izzo

Comments:  Allen’s recent pay adjustment locks him in.  Hollister has been chatted up frequently, so I guess he is in.  But maybe his injury keeps him off.

OL (8):

Locks:  Trent Brown (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT), LaAdrian Waddle (T)

In:  Ted Karras (G/C), Cole Croston (T)

Out:  Matt Tobin (T), Luke Bowanko (C/G), James Ferentz (C), Jason King (G), Ulrick John (T)

Way Out:  Brian Schwenke (C)

Injured Reserve:  Isaiah Wynn (T/G)

Comments:  John was getting some love, but he limped off last night and who knows how serious his injury is.  Bowanko is also hurt.  The top 6 are locked in, but you can pick whoever you want as the 2-3 backups and honestly, I couldn’t tell you who is better than who.  Should I be able to?  I don’t know.  But can you?

Defense:

DE (5):

Locks:  Trey Flowers, Adrian Clayborn, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise

In:  Keionta Davis

Out:  Eric Lee

Way Out:  Frank Herron

Comments:  I’m keeping Davis on, despite some questions during the telecast about him not making enough plays against backups in the preseason.  Just a hunch.

DT (4):

Locks:  Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton

In:  Adam Butler

Out:  Vincent Valentine

Way Out:  John Atkins, Trent Harris

Comments:  Still would like to find room for Valentine.  But maybe they think that they can slip him through to the practice squad, seeing that he missed all of last year.

LB (4):

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

In:  None

Out:  Marquis Flowers, Christian Sam

Way Out:  None

Injured Reserve:  Harvey Langhi

Comments:  First three are no-brainers.  Roberts didn’t play in the finale, so, unfortunately, it looks like he is a lock too.  Sam apparently wasn’t dressed last night, so maybe he is hurt and he ends up on IR?  Flowers is brutal, but he is a “core special teamer”, who actually also, very, unfortunately, does play some linebacker too.  He’s out for now, but my guess is that he’s a guy they can cut, not get claimed and be back for Week 1.  Maybe not, but he played a ton in the last preseason game.  That’s usually not a good sign.  And I think his 1.75 mil salary is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too high.  There’s some room for him to come down there.  Taking a stab here…

CB (6):

Locks:  Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Duke Dawson

In:  Cyrus Jones, J.C. Jackson

Out:  Jason McCourty, Ryan Lewis, Keion Crossen

Way Out:  Jomal Wiltz

Comments:  No changes here.  McCourty is a guy that they could cut and re-sign in Week 2.  And he was playing a little safety in the preseason finale.  Maybe that’s a long-term thing.  But doesn’t help him for Saturday.  Crossen still has a shot to make the squad, at least temporarily.  But I think that may be a stretch at this point.

S (4):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon

In:  Jordan Richards

Out:  Damarius Travis

Way Out:  A.J. Moore

Comments:  If Jason McCourty could ever supplant Richards, I’d love it.  But I don’t see it.

Specialists (7):

Locks:  Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST), Brandon King (ST), Nicholas Grigsby (ST)

In:  None

Out:  Brandon Bolden (ST), Geneo Grissom (ST)

Way Out:  Corey Bojorquez (P)

Comments:  “Bojo” couldn’t even punt in the last meaningless preseason game.  I think they play the same game with Bolden this year as they did last year…cut him for 2 days, keep a kid longer so they can sneak him on the practice squad when other teams have their rosters set, then he’s back in uniform before Week 1.

Final comment:  There will be some bottom of the roster movement, cuts and re-signings and all.  We know that.  But we also know that there will be some trades, probably minor, but still some trades.  I will say, I love this time of year!

Practice squad:  Etling, Webb, Lucien, Ferentz, Lee, Harris, Valentine, Sam, Lewis and Crossen.

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New England Patriots Roster Projection-Offense, v2

Three preseason games down, one meaningless one to go.  Well, “meaningless” for some people…I guess it’s pretty meaningful for the dudes trying to win jobs here or elsewhere.  Either way, time for the 2nd roster projection.  88 players on the roster…wait, 86…I just read about two departures.  We will cover everything here, so don’t you worry.

Offense:

QB (2):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

In:  None

Out:  Danny Etling

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Nothing to see here.  Hoyer stinks, we do know that, but he ain’t going anywhere.  Unless Etling throws for 600 yards in the preseason finale, I guess…

RB (5):

Locks:  Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel, James Develin

In:  Jeremy Hill

Out:  Mike Gillislee, Ralph Webb

Way Out:  Henry Poggi

Comments:  Only change here is adding Hill to the squad.  Jeremy has had a pretty good preseason, and unless his injury from late in the last game is serious, the consensus is he will make the squad.  Seeing that Burkhead is always hurt and Michel has been hurt (and apparently has underwhelmed, to boot) this training camp, I actually tried to find a way to hang on to Gillislee too.  But with Belichick loving his 19 special teams only guys, I couldn’t find the space for him.  Not yet anyway.  Oh wait, there is another difference:  Poggi is added to the last group.  He wasn’t here for the first projection.  And he won’t be here much longer, especially after his one touch in the last game resulted in a fumble.

WR (3):

Locks:  Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson

In:  None

Out:  Riley McCarron, Devin Lucien

Way Out:  Paul Turner

Suspended:  Julian Edelman

Injured Reserve?:  Braxton Berrios

Released:  Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews

Retired:  Eric Decker

Comments:  Abysmal.  There is no other way to put it.  Even when Edelman comes back.  And who is to say he even is the same guy these days, post-injury?  This group is brutal.

The amazing thing though, is I think they get through it.  I think the team uses more backs and tight ends in the passing game and things will be ok.  Why do I think that?  No f’n idea…just a hunch.  Maybe they get someone on waivers.  But we saw how that went with Dorsett last year, after he was acquired a few days before the season.  Didn’t do much last year.  So we really can’t expect something different this year.  Dez?  Looks like that ain’t happening.  But would he be the right fit anyway?  And how much does he actually have left?  Not sure on either count.

In any event, this is what we have.  Dorsett hopefully takes a step up…Patterson too, for that matter.  What are the chances of either of those happening for real though?  Berrios has been hurt and it may make sense to stash him on IR.  Britt, Mitchell and Matthews were hurt and it made no sense to stash them.  Still feel bad about Mitchell, but looks like he is still a free agent, so I suppose every other team feels the same way.  Decker was apparently so bad, he literally just retired.  Prime opportunity for him to come here and make something happen, but alas, it didn’t happen.  Turner?  Who?

I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see McCarron stick, at least to start the year.  We’ve heard about him, though haven’t necessarily seen much.  But maybe he’s the guy that returns punts while Jules is out.  Who the hell knows?  I tried to put him on actually, but again…the special teams guys…

TE (3):

Locks:  Rob Gronkowski

In:  Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister

Out:  Will Tye

Way Out:  None

Injured Reserve?:  Ryan Izzo

Released:  Troy Niklas, Shane Wimann

Comments:  So much for Niklas living up to his draft position.  He was cut a month ago and remains unemployed.  Wimann never had a chance either I guess.  The praise for Hollister has been effusive at times, so I guess he has to be in.  No idea how Allen still keeps his spot.  But there has been no indication that he is in danger of losing it.  Izzo seems like a nice IR stash.

OL (8):

Locks:  Trent Brown (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT), LaAdrian Waddle (T)

In:  Ted Karras (G/C), Cole Croston (T)

Out:  Matt Tobin (T), Luke Bowanko (C/G), James Ferentz (C), Jason King (G), Ulrick John (T)

Way Out:  Brian Schwenke (C)

Injured Reserve:  Isaiah Wynn (T/G)

Released:  Nate Theaker (G)

Comments:  Starting five remains intact.  Too bad about top pick Wynn being shelved for the year.  But every team has their injuries I suppose.  Wynn’s injury makes Waddle a lock.  And I changed my mind on the “In’s”.  Now, I can’t say I study offensive line play.  But I read and listen to a lot of analysis.  It seems the Pats brought in guys like Bowanko, Tobin and John to improve upon last years’ backups in Karras and Croston.  I haven’t seen or heard anything that has indicated that they will actually will be improvements.  With Cannon being hurt, maybe they find space for one or two more initially.  But with the last couple of spots, honestly, you’re guess is as good as mine.

Next:  Defense and Specialists

New England Patriots Roster Projection-Offense

Training camp opened up this week for the New England Patriots.  Led off by another informative Bill Belichick press conference…not.  He’s never telling us why he didn’t play Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl last year.  But I don’t mind people still asking.

I will also tell ya…this whole thing about badmouthing the taskmaster Belichick is laughable.  Sure, he isn’t perfect.  Butler, trading Jimmy Garoppolo for 25 cents on the dollar and we could list several more probably.  You’re bound to make some mistakes over 18 years.  Have we forgotten all the good he has done too?

Even more, he had Jimmy Football set up to lead the Pats for the next decade or so…once Tommy Boy finally decides to decline, that is.  And at 41, it may come sooner than people, or even he, is ready to accept.

Sure, the thought of trading Brady is hard to stomach.  But the end will come.  And at his age, there is a very good chance it could come quick.  So what’s wrong with having someone good ready to go next?  Tommy Boy didn’t like it though.  And got owner Robert Kraft to side with him.  But why is Bill the bad guy here?

Same with the Rob Gronkowski trade rumors.  Gronk may be the best tight end of all-time.  But he’s hinting at retirement and gets hurt a ton.  So why wouldn’t Belichick try to get some value for the guy in a trade while he can?  Certainly can investigate it.  I would.  I may not actually do it.  But, based on the circumstances, it’s smart to see what was out there.  So why was Bill the bad guy here too?

In any event, even if none of these zipperheads get along, with the players not going to voluntary workouts and all that nonsense that people were flipping out about this summer, I am not sure it will matter in the end.  Unless Brady pulls a Brett Favre in his age-41 season with the Vikings.

Moving on, the team has 90 players in camp, so let’s get to why we are here.  The Pats made a few roster moves this week, so I included them…since I already had the players lined up.  The first roster projection of the year, right here:

Offense:

QB (2):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

In:  None

Out:  Danny Etling

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Unless you think the seventh-rounder Etling is the 2018 version of the 2000 Brady that was drafted in the sixth round and you want to put him on the team.  I don’t.  I see practice squad written all over him.  Plus Bill usually keeps only 2 quarterbacks anyway.  Hoyer is a safe backup.  It would be hard to believe Etling could beat him out this summer to take the backup job.  I don’t see it anyway.  But who saw Brady take the backup job back in 2001?  I suppose at least he had a full year in the system, something Etling obviously doesn’t have.

RB (4):

Locks:  Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel, James Develin

In:  None

Out:  Mike Gillislee, Jeremy Hill, Ralph Webb

Way Out:  None

Comments:  Burkhead signed a decent sized three-year deal, so it looks like he heads in as the lead back.  Until Michel replaces him.  Likely due to injury.  White is the third down guy.  The team loves Develin.  The locks are pretty easy.

A pretty solid fall for Gillislee.  He was the man last year early and didn’t take advantage of his opportunities.  Lost the job to Dion Lewis and now it looks like he will lose his entire fat paycheck this year.  Hill is nice to take a flyer on.  But as a 4th back…you can find those anywhere.  Unless someone gets hurt, I expect him to be gone, with the team going with more depth at other positions.  I’d normally have Webb as ‘Way Out”, but I think they gave him a nice signing bonus as an undrafted free agent.  Has to count for something I guess.

WR (5):

Locks:  Chris Hogan

In:  Jordan Matthews, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson

Out:  Braxton Berrios, Riley McCarron

Way Out:  Devin Lucien

Suspended:  Julian Edelman

PUP/IR/Traded/Released:  Malcolm Mitchell

Released:  Cody Hollister

Comments:  Welp, this is one fine mess!  Hogan is the only lock, with Edelman suspended the first four games for PED use.  Matthews would seem to be the closest to another lock.  But he could be one of those guys that never find a rapport with Brady, despite having success elsewhere.  Patterson will be kept for kick returns and gadget plays.  Dorsett would seem to be buoyed by having a full year in the system, and a full training camp this year.  Remember, Jacoby Brissett was traded for Dorsett like 5 days before the season last year.  I have no idea if he can actually play, but he would seem to have a leg up on others this year now based on the above.  And…people that watch film said he got open a ton last year, just Brady never threw to him, for whatever that’s worth.  I wasn’t bullish on Britt initially.  But I read something recently that the team likes him as the #3 guy during Jules’ suspension.  Guess that means he is on the team.

Berrios may have a chance.  But I see the practice squad in his future.  Speaking of the practice squad, McCarron was on it for all of last year I believe.  And there was some buzz about him in the spring too.  Then the Pats signed Matthews, traded for Patterson and drafted Berrios.  So much for that buzz.  Lucien spent some time on the practice squad last year, I think maybe the whole year too, after getting drafted in the seventh round in 2017.  But they thought so much of him that they let him walk, only to re-sign him like two days ago.  Hollister was another long-term practice squad dude from last year.  But he had some sort of “non-football” injury I guess and they just dumped him.

Mitchell is kind of a sad story.  Football one anyway.  We all know he was at like a fourth-grade reading level in college and then took action to improve and is now an author.  But he can’t stay on the field in the sport.  Too bad.  He showed promise in 2016.  But then missed all of 2017.  And now may miss all of 2018.  The talk is they are trying to trade him, but good luck with that.  Who knows what will happen, but the end result is that he won’t be on the roster this year any way you slice it.

TE (2):

Locks:  Rob Gronkowski

In:  Dwayne Allen

Out:  Jacob Hollister, Troy Niklas, Will Tye, Ryan Izzo

Way Out:  Shane Wimann

Comments:  Gronk…of course.  But I battled with the rest.  Allen’s salary and production would seem to make him a natural cut.  But he stuck around all last year.  So will he again?  Someone still has to beat him out.  Maybe Hollister takes a step up?  Maybe Niklas lives up to his draft position of several years back?  It won’t be Tye or Izzo.  Izzo seems like a practice squad guy as a seventh rounder this year.  Tye seems fungible.  It sure as hell won’t be Wimann, who I’ve never heard of…and I expect you haven’t either.  Maybe they keep three TE’s too.  I don’t know how many people really pay attention to backup TE battles.  But if you do, this could be a good one.  It’s Allen for now, until further notice.

OL (9):

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

In:  LaAdrian Waddle (T), Matt Tobin (T), Luke Bowanko (C/G)

Out:  Ted Karras (G/C), James Ferentz (C), Cole Croston (T), Jason King (G), Ulrick John (T)

Way Out:  Nate Theaker (G)

Retired:  Andrew Jelks (T)

Comments:  Seems like Big Trent is going to get first crack at replacing the overrated and overpaid (especially now) Nate Solder.  But they may cycle through a few guys in camp before it’s over.  Waddle is back.  Tobin and John were brought in to presumably battle.  Some people insist that first rounder Wynn can play tackle.  And then there is Croston, who spent all of last year on the active roster and barely played.  So there may be some drama here yet.  The “ins and outs” may change weekly, or even daily, at that position.

Karras has seemed to be a capable backup along the interior.  But then again, he was cut last year out of camp.  And then they brought in Bowanko this offseason.  Karras’ time may be officially up now.  Ferentz and King seem to be fringe players.  No one has ever heard of Theaker.  Jelks was getting some buzz in the spring…even though he had missed 3 straight years of football.  So much for that buzz.  But he probably made the right decision by retiring.

Going back to the starters, other than left tackle, the line appears set.  But I think we should watch out for one thing.  A Shaq Mason trade.  What?  Yup.  We know Bill ain’t paying Shaq big money next year.  The market for guards went up with a huge contract or two this past offseason.  Does Bill preemptive strike and unload him for value in camp?  Maybe.  What it would also do is open a spot for Wynn at guard, where most think he will end up anyway.  Something to consider.  I think there may be a few candidates for trade on defense as well.  But we will get to that in due time.

Next:  Defense and Specialists

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