By: Steve Balestrieri
With the New England Patriots having played in two preseason games against the Saints and Eagles, there is now plenty of film for the coaches to look at in determining who stays and who goes toward the final roster
Based on observations through the first two games, this how we see the 53 Man Roster panning out today:
QB (3) Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
No surprises here, Hoyer remains the #2 QB, OL play has made it difficult to get a true feel for the play of QBs as they have little time to look for the deep/intermediate routes.
RB (5) Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Jeff Demps, Brandon Bolden
Top three remain entrenched here, Bolden makes the squad over FBs Larsen and Kettani. Larsen hasn’t been on the field and Kettani hasn’t done anything to generate much justification to stay. Demps makes the team before suiting up….
WR (6) Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, Deion Branch
Branch is healthy and leap frogs Stallworth for the final WR slot. Still two games to go, some things may change again.
TE (3) Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells
Fells is finally back on the field and he gets the nod over Shiancoe who hasn’t been there since the first days of camp.
OL (9) Dan Connolly, Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald, Ryan Wendell, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Sebastian Vollmer
I still believe Brian Waters comes back and so he gets a slot. The team needs another tackle so this unit may very well change again. Koppen doesn’t justify a slot because he is no longer the best center on the team and has no versatility to play another position. Markus Zusecics is an intriguing prospect but will likely be placed on PUP.
DE (5) Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Trevor Scott, Jake Bequette, Jermaine Cunningham
No major surprises nor changes here. This group has been solid and presents a lot of bodies that can mix, match and provide fresh legs all game.
DT (4) Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Ron Brace
With Fanene being cut, it opens the door for Brace who is finally starting to play up to his potential. Pryor opens the season on PUP and may well end up on IR or cut loose. Justin Francis is a great candidate for the practice squad, ditto for Forston.
ILB(3) Brandon Spikes, Niko Koutouvides, Jeff Tarpinian
Once Dane Fletcher went down with an ACL injury it opened the door for some competition. Rivera seems slow to react especially in the passing game so Koutouvides and Tarpinian get the nod because of ST skills. Tracy White is one of the better STs players but hasn’t seen the field in awhile
OLB(3) Jerod Mayo, Donta Hightower, Bobby Carpenter
No changes, solid group here. Carpenter gives the group a good subpackage cover linebacker who can move around and play where needed.
CB (4) Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore
Moore is getting the nod here, but just barely over either Cole or Allen. Moore’s play hasn’t been stellar in the preseason games. The last two games will tell the tale here. Alfonzo Denard hasn’t been on the field since the second day of camp, goes to IR
SS (3) Patrick Chung, James Ihedigbo, Nate Ebner
Ebner makes a late charge and is developing a nose for the ball, something that is needed, Chung is hurt again (sigh), Barrett and Brown don’t make the cut.
FS (2) Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson
So far so good, these two players have to be considered pleasant surprises in camp. Gregory wasn’t highly regarded coming from SD and Wilson was considered a reach for the 2nd round. But both have played very well. Considering where the position was last season, it is a night and day situation.
ST (3) Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken
No changes here, by far the easiest positions to pick on the roster
Total players: 53
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