The Patriots have begun making their moves to get down to 80 men by tomorrow’s deadline set out by the league and have cut Long Snapper Matt Katula. What kind of impact does this have on the roster?
He had misfired once this Preaseason¬†against¬†the Jaguars with a wayward snap on a Point After Attempt. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may remember I briefly touched on the option that Matt Katula could be cut. This affects two positions in my opinion; Tight End and Safety (and¬†potentially¬†O Line).
We have two players on the roster who¬†have¬†the ability to long snap; LB Rob¬†Ninkovich and TE Lee Smith. For me, Belichick goes with the¬†both of¬†these guys as options for the role. As Ninkovich and Smith will both get reasonable playing time, you can’t expect have just one of them in the team in case of injury. Will Yeatman, whilst getting the majority of first team unit snaps, didn’t show us much on Saturday against Detroit and the battle has been extremely close between the two TEs. I suggested that Lee Smith’s versatility as a long snapper could potentially give the nod to Smith over fellow Rookie Yeatman.
If Smith makes the roster, he helps the team considerably by allowing the team to cut Katula. Why? He frees up one more roster spot. Safety has been a position of concern overt he last couple of weeks with questions over performances and depth. The Patriots have also cut Veteran Safety James Sanders leaving many confounded as to why they may have done so, and the implications this may have on the position. However, they have also picked Ross Ventrone back up¬†at the position now. Since he was released, his pads never left his locker, which left a lot to believe he would be making a return. Sander’s cutting could lead to the following ¬†all making the team:
- Brandon Merriweather
- Patrick Chung
- Josh Barrett
- Ross Ventrone
- James Ihedigbo
There is also potential that it gives us another option at Guard. I have us taking 3 through, with Steve Maneri as a backup Tackle/Guard. However Dan Connolly went down hurt on Saturday and the O Line showed some potential issues. Could we be freeing room up for one more O Line? Rich Ohrnberger would be the natural¬†choice¬†in my projections.
So in summary, Katula’s release makes Lee Smith making the team almost certain in my eyes. This frees up an extra roster¬†spot¬†where we can add safety or O Line depth. These two positions are arguably the ones which have the most¬†concern¬†hanging over them¬†since¬†Saturday’s performance.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next set of Roster projections (version 3.0) to see what direction I believe the Pats wll go in after this move!
All this depends on Bill Belichick not picking up another long snapper of course!
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