“I feel great, I’m ready to get this thing going and ready to play on Sunday,” Siliga said. Siliga said he needs to shake off some rust after missing significant time. “It’s been about a month since I have taken my last snap, so that’s what today is for and the next few days — to get back out there running around with the fellas and see what I can pick up.”—New England Patriots’ Sealver Siliga ‘ready to get this thing going’ - ESPN
“Bruce Gaston did a heck of a job on our defensive line — really showed up, blowing up some blockers and made a little name for himself in that scrimmage (Saturday)," said head coach Bruce Arians, who later told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that Gaston "is a big, powerful guy. I mean when I saw a couple of offensive lineman come backwards, it’s just like, ‘Whoa, who’s over there?’ I thought it was (Darnell Dockett) or Calais (Campbell) or somebody, and it was (No.) 75. I said, ‘Hmm, I like that.’”—Arizona Cardinals rookie Bruce Gaston wants to be a ‘nasty defensive lineman’ ArizonaSports.com
“I wonder how much Bill Belichick is factoring in a potential 2016 compensatory draft choice when considering Ryan Mallett’s standing on the roster. Mallett’s contract expires after the 2014 season, and he’ll almost certainly sign elsewhere, a move that will count in the Patriots’ favor in the compensatory pick formula.”—Quick-hit thoughts around NFL, New England Patriots - ESPN Boston
There are sure to be some more moves coming over the next day or so, but the New England Patriots initial 53-man roster has taken shape with no major surprises (yet).
The biggest thing appears that the Pats wanted to protect 10 offensive linemen. Not all 10 will likely be on the roster by Tuesday, but the Pats prevented another team from swooping in an taking one of their guys at this point. Clearly with much uncertainty upfront, it makes sense to try and hang on to as many guys who are experienced in the system as possible.
Still, Barker or Devey is likely next to go once a long snapper is signed, but it will be easier to get them on the practice squad today/tomorrow than if they had been released on Saturday.
Here it is, cutdown Saturday, the start of a crazy Labor Day weekend sure to have a number of moves that shock the assumptions of even the most astute Patriots followers.
It’s also the last weekend before football is back and time to put another offseason in the rearview mirror to enjoy the best time of year — the start of football season.
Lots of great stuff coming this week including the return of the PatsProapaganda & Frenz Podcast (yay), the announcement of the weekly schedule this year along with some other special announcements that will have me giving away a TON of Pats-related goodies this year.
The first part of our weekly schedule is Saturday’s Best Of post, featuring anything of interest you might’ve missed. I’ll be checking in throughout the day as the final cuts come down.
Here’s the best of the last week of the offseason.
What do you think will be our biggest weakness this year? Receiving court, pass rush, pass protection, secondary...?
1. Interior OL - This was a concern for me when Mankins was still on the team so it’s still a significant one. I think that my predicted OL of Solder-Kline-Wendell-Connolly-Vollmer will be fine. 4/5ths of them have played together the last two seasons and while they had their struggles at times, they were a very good group, especially in run blocking last year. Even without Mankins I don’t see that falling off a whole lot.
The question will be can the interior OL pass block the tough DLs on the big stages? The Jets for one will present a big challenge in that area. Hopefully Stork and Halapio progress in season, I think Stork especially could singlehandedly upgrade this area.
2. Depth on the Edge - If Ninkovich and Chandler stay healthy the edges of the defense will be a strength. If one or both gets dinged, things will get very dicey. This is a critical area and one where I am genuinely concerned, but let’s just not think about injuries until we’re forced to.
Those are really it. I think they have the best array of pass rushers that they’ve had in a long time, especially on the interior, an area I’ve been harping about since this blog started. They also have perhaps their most promising group of weapons since 2007. Depth is as solid as you could hope everywhere except DE and LB.
If they can stay healthy and stop the pressure up the middle in the big games, the sky is the limit.
I'd like to propose a theory: In addition to the slipping play and salary cap ramifications of Logan Mankins, another possible motivation for the trade may be it's effect on the rest of the team. Tedy Bruschi often talks about the effects of the Lawyer Malloy cut as something that helped motivate him. Perhaps our coach was aware of this, and is attempting to get his team to dislike him a bit, so they play with an edge. Thoughts?
As much as I love a good BB coaching conspiracy I’m not sure I’d bite on this one. There were a number of factors that led to Mankins’ release and certainly some negative ones that inherently came with it, but the message to the team is the same as it is every time the reality that this is a business is reaffirmed. That’s the cold, hard reality of the Not For Long league. Doesn’t have to be intentional from BB though, more like a dose of reality byproduct.
Do you see stork becoming the starting center sometime during the season if at all
Maybe. I think there’s no question he’s the future starter there at some point and I’d certainly prefer it’s sooner than later. With so much uncertainty and concern with the middle of the offensive line, adding a talented and tough player like Stork to anchor them would really be ideal.
I need to take a closer look at him this weekend on the re-watch.
New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp Superlatives and Awards
As another training camp for the New England Patriots comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back and hand out some awards for those who did or didn’t stand out for the right or wrong reasons.
Undrafted Rookie Star: An undrafted rookie makes the team almost every year and this year certainly won’t be an exception due to the exceptional play of cornerback Malcolm Butler. Rarely did a practice or game pass where Butler wasn’t making plays on the ball. Butler is a near-lock to make the roster.
Biggest Surprise(s): The immediate return to health of Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski has been one of the nicest surprises of camp. Usually players coming off major injuries like a torn ACL or Achilles start out on the PUP list, but both of these major injury concerns appear to be on track for the season opener. Wilfork still shows great get-off and almost appears refreshed after the season off.
Projection of gameday roster? And who do you see as the five best OLs on the team?
This is my best guess for next Sunday’s opener. Obviously there are some questions with Gronk and Easley’s health, but taking an optimistic approach on them here.
QB (2) Brady, Garoppolo RB (4) Ridley, Vereen, White, Develin WR (6) Edelman, Dobson, Amendola, LaFell, Thompkins, Slater TE (3) Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui, Wright C (1) Wendell G (2) Connolly, Kline T (4) Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Fleming DE (3) Jones, Ninkovich, Buchanan DT (4) Wilfork, Vellano, Easley, Siliga ILB(2) Mayo, White OLB(3) Hightower, Collins, Fleming CB (4) Revis, Dennard, Ryan, Arrington SS (2) Chung, Ebner FS (2) McCourty, Harmon ST (3) Gostkowski, Allen, Aiken
Lot of talk about Marcus Cannon and who the best five linemen are and as I’ve said most of the offseason I think Cannon is a tackle who can play guard in a pinch. There will be plenty of opportunities for him to get on the field with the Pats light on tight ends, and let’s not forget about Vollmer’s injury history.
So I continue to think it will be Solder-Kline-Wendell-Connolly-Vollmer with Cannon coming in for jumbo packages.
Patriots 53-Man Roster Prediction: Final Prediction
I haven’t had a chance to take a look at last nights game yet, but after reviewing all the observations I feel okay about making a final roster prediction.
Lot of tough decisions to make, especially at safety, defensive end and offensive line. And I’m sure there will be a surprise cut or two that throws this whole thing off but oh well, we’re just 9 days from Patriots football.
QB (2) Brady, Garoppolo - Garoppolo might’ve come back to earth a bit last night, but I still think I’d rather roll with him if Brady were to get dinged. Would there be growing pains and inconsistency? Sure. But his release and deep ball are so intriguing.
RB (5) Ridley, Vereen, White, Develin, Bolden - Not sure where Bolden’s been, but I’m keeping him, especially after White seems more and more suited as a passing back.
WR (6) Edelman, Thompkins, Amendola, LaFell, Dobson, Slater - Tyms sticks around as well through Week 4. Great showing by Dobson last night and in the limited footage I’ve seen of him he looks a lot more decisive and stronger.
TE (3) Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui, Wright - Using an OL in blocking situations is fine and once Gronk and Wright can be out there at the same time, look out.
C (2) Wendell, Stork - Would love to see Stork take the job from Wendell in-season, but I think it’s Wendell’s to start.
G (3) Connolly, Kline, Halapio - Kline should be fine, but could there still be a veteran addition tomorrow? Possibly. Halapio needs time.
T (4) Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, Fleming - Really solid group.
DE (3) Jones, Ninkovich, Buchanan - Scariest position on the roster and Buchanan’s injury issues from last night are not what was needed. I like Moore and he could sneak on as could Bequette if Buchanan’s injury will hold him out.
DT (6) Wilfork, Easley, Jones, Siliga, Worthy, Vellano - Maybe not the most proven group but I love their potential.
LB(6) Hightower, Beauharnais, White, Mayo, Collins, Fleming - Not great depth but the starters plus Fleming are very solid.
CB (5) Revis, Arrington, Dennard, Butler, Ryan - Browner starts on the suspended list. These other five should get mixed and matched all over the field. Very curious if any of them actually see time at Safety in the regular season. That would be an interesting schematic evolution.
SS (3) Chung, Wilson, Ebner - Maybe I’m crazy to keep Wilson and Chung but given injury history and the lack of depth at linebacker and it makes sense to keep two in-the-box types.
FS (2) McCourty, Harmon - two good back end guys with solid range, Harmon would be okay in the box as well.
Sorry to ask for something so in-depth, but could you please talk about the possibility of a Big Nickel (3 Safety) configuration as it pertains to the Patriots' defense? It seems like they have their eyes on it with McCourty, Harmon, and Chung, and it makes sense now that they'll have better man coverage. What would this personnel grouping let them do and which players are best suited to which roles within that scheme?
Never apologize for asking an in-depth X and O question about the defense!
Yes, I think this is very possible as many of us have surmised Chung will be the run stopping SS while Harmon will be the pass stopping 2nd FS and they’ll rotate based on the game or down.
So yes, there’s a world where you have Harmon and McCourty both playing the back end, perhaps in a Cover 2 shell to keep it simple. Then there’s certainly a place for putting Chung in the box with them, perhaps along with a slot corner like Arrington, maybe Dennard.
That’s a pretty solid dime package with speed and coverage skills on the perimeter and toughness/tackling on the inside.
What will the Pats do week-to-week? I don’t know and neither does the opposition. They have a lot of tools in the toolbox on both sides of the ball to do whatever BB sees fit to win the game.
But trying to put either squad in a box at this point is useless. Just know they can do almost anything with the guys they have.
“Cannon hasn’t played at guard. Not a single snap at guard for four-year veteran Marcus Cannon, who has worked at right guard at times in practice and occasionally in regular-season games. Perhaps that changes in the preseason finale but Cannon seems most comfortable at tackle, which is where he’s lined up for all 15 of his series.”—New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
Your “take it for whatever it’s worth” batch of predictions. Three of these guys have the Pats in the Super Bowl, but only one has them winning it. Not surprising it’s almost entirely Broncos and Pats repping the AFC, with one guy picking Pittsburgh.
Lot of Packers picks too, can’t wait to see the Pats travel to Lambeau on November 30th.
“With him, you really have to do your job and whatever your assignment is. If you got man [coverage], stay locked up on him. If you have zone [coverage], stay in your zone, because if you try to freelance and jump a route, he is too smart for that. He will read it and expose you. So stay back, do your assignment and make the plays when it comes to you. That’s how you beat him. He’s very smart. He is a guy that takes what is given to him. He’s going to throw to the open guy. He has a good offensive line, so he’s going to have time to throw the ball and he’s going to take the matchups that he likes.”—
“It’s more than the play that I think the Patriots will miss most; it’s the leadership and enforcer-type mentality. Mankins brought a toughness, attitude, and you’re-not-going-to-mess-with-us type approach to the field that is going to be hard to duplicate. I don’t see anyone on the current Patriots’ line who could fill that void right now.”—
The last preseason game is upon us and once again another training camp is behind us. The most important pieces of the Patriots roster should see limited, if any, time in this one, softening our injury concerns.
But there will still be plenty to watch on Thursday night, with Jimmy Garoppolo getting the start for the first time in his young career. Garoppolo is a lock to make the team, but there are plenty others still on the bubble who will want to pop against the Giants.
Here’s our list of who needs the biggest games to avoid the next cut when 22 players currently on the roster must go.
With this logan mankins trade, is it reasonable to think the patriots will probably be going back to that 2 TE scheme that was so successful with Hernandez and Gronk?
In theory of course this makes sense, but they barely have enough healthy tight ends for a one tight end scheme right now so they’ll have to take what they can get.
I think we tend to put the cart before the horse a little too much when relating personnel to scheme. I don’t think the scheme is necessarily what comes first except in very general areas. I don’t believe there was ever an edict of “we must go to a two-tight end offense prior to 2010/2011. They needed tight ends, picked up a couple for what they believed were good value in the draft and both happened to pick up the offense quickly and compliment each other very well.
It’s more about getting good players who fit the style of the team and then letting things play out so you can understand what you have and what you can do well.
I think the Patriots offense right now looks as varied as an offense can be. There are little quick guys, there are long, outside guys, there’s a full back who can do a little of everything, an all-around tight end, a move tight end, and three running backs who also have their own unique skill sets.
The Pats could run almost any personnel packages and be effective, whether it’s 12 (1 RB, 2 TE), 11 (1 RB, 1 TE), 22 (2 RB, 2 TE), 21 (2 RB, 1 TE) or even empty sets.
They will give opposing defenses a lot to prepare for and should be able to attack any weakness they want.
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player. It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made - and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make - but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”—
Patriots Annual Shocker: Logan Mankins sent to Tampa Bay for TE Tim Wright
If you’ve been following the Patriots for long, you might be familiar with their penchant for stunning trades during the last week of preseason, usually over Labor Day weekend. The most famous example came in 2009 when they sent Richard Seymour to Oakland.
As that tweet speculates, this could very well be a precursor to an extension for Revis, but the Pats were going to have to deal with Mankins’ contract at some point and they tend to cut ties a year too early rather than a year too late.
The Pats were razor-thin at tight end and really had no move “F” tight end on their roster. Wright should provide another weapon for Tom Brady after picking up 54 catches and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2013.
There is definitely a role for Wright on the Pats.
Tim Wright ran a 4.65 40 with a 4.47 short shuttle, 7.27 3 cone, 9’10” broad jump, 36” vert at 6-3, 219 pounds at Rutgers pro day last March
As for the offensive line, my bet would be that they stick with Connolly at right guard and Ryan Wendell at center as they have the last two seasons, while Josh Kline slips into Makins’ left guard spot. Kline did well there in 2013 against the Ravens and the Pats have never been shy about getting their young offensive linemen in the lineup.
Bryan Stork, Jon Halapio and Jordan Devey should continue to develop and could challenge for starting spots not too far down the line.
Shocking trades and personnel moves are nothing new to Bill Belichick. The first was the famous release of Lawyer Milloy in 2003 and this move with Mankins fits the mold of those that came before — high-priced veterans whose play and value don’t quite match what they’re making.
All eyes should be on Wright this Thursday against the Giants, as well as what the offensive line looks like.
“The underdog story of Tyms, coupled with his humble approach, has turned him into a bit of a media favorite. “It’s not the end of the world when you get cut. I’ve been cut three times,” Tyms said. “It’s just that God has different plan for you. You never know, you could be back in the same place they cut you.””—Picked-up pieces around the Patriots - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston