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Camp Battles: Update Pre-season Game 1

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Metaphors, Aug 6, 2008.

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  1. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Here is the where we left off...

    To make this simpler before roster cutdown, let's take the following roster spots and roles off the table (assuming Light and JSanders will be back soon):

    QB (1): Brady
    RB (2): Maroney, Faulk
    WR (2): Moss, Welker
    TE (2): Watson, DThomas
    OL (3): Light, Mankins, Koppen
    DL (4): Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green
    LB (4): Bruschi, Mayo, Vrabel, AThomas
    CB (3): Hobbs, Bryant, Wheatley
    S (3): Harrison, JSanders, Meriweather
    ST (2): Gostkowski, Hanson

    That leaves 19 active and 8 inactive spots left. So far in camp, don't see any reason to adjust 9 active (Gaffney, O'Callaghan, Kaczur, Hochstein, Crable, TWilliams, Slater, Woods and Paxton) and 6 inactive (O'Connell, Yates, Guyton, Richardson, Britt, LSmith). As for the remaining 12 spots:

    Holding On
    Neal - May start out on PUP but should claim a spot when ready
    Wright - Ditto, but more competition for his spot
    Hobson - Too many youngsters in the wings to be "struggling" with the scheme

    Making a Case, But Not There Yet
    Jordan - Possible that only two of Jordan/Morris/Evans survive
    Aiken - Not only pushing Washington on ST, but CJack for WR
    Alexander - Tough spot since he will likely have to displace Izzo or Hobson to stick

    Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
    Cassel in, Gutierrez out: Cassel getting all the valuable #2 snaps in camp
    Wilhite in, Webster out: Wrong time and wrong position for an injury
    Spann in, Spach out: Spann looks ready for a bigger role
    Ventrone in, SThomas out: Nice camp but kind of overloaded with WR/DB types so this could change

    Analysis
    • Will be watching Yates run with the 1's tomorrow since I'm thinking we won't see Neal for a while.
    • Had high hopes for Hobson so hopefully he picks up the pace. Nobody wants signs of Beisel running through their heads.
    • I think Jordan and Aiken will make the active 45, but just not sure where to put them at the moment.
    • Gutierrez needs to get some backup snaps soon to avoid the ax.
    • With Wilhite and Richardson holding their own, Webster can't afford to miss much more time.
    • Spann and Ventrone have forced their way into the plans for 2008. Now they can try to force their way to the gameday actives.

    QB (3): Brady, Cassel, O'Connell*
    RB (4): Maroney, Faulk, Morris, Evans
    WR (5): Moss, Welker, Gaffney, CJackson, Washington
    TE (2): Watson, DThomas
    OL (9): Light, Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Kaczur, O'Callaghan, Hochstein, Britt*, Yates*
    DL (6): Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green, Wright, LSmith*
    LB (8): Bruschi, Mayo, Vrabel, AThomas, Hobson, Crable, Woods, Guyton*
    CB (5): Hobbs, Bryant, Wheatley, Wilhite, Richardson*
    S (4): Harrison, JSanders, Meriweather, TWilliams
    ST (7): Gostkowski, Hanson, Paxton, Slater, Izzo, Spann*, Ventrone*
    * = Inactive
  2. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Continuing your excellent roster analysis, i see.

    What, are you trying to spoil us?
    Thought-provoking about Aiken ... Webster ... Spann ... Ventrone ... going with only 2 TEs.

    Ventrone sounds to me like a final year on p/s.
  3. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    It's a nice list but Aiken beats out Izzo; then put four current people on PUP. Neal, Wright, Green, Ross then what? Choices are then Jordan, Welbourne, SanTonio, and and who else? Izzo or another OL? or Gutierrez? or Pollard? or Webster?
  4. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    A good thread of course... only 3 TEs??? They will not do that only because they use TEs and if one is down they are in trouble...esp with teh OL thin... I also do NOT think Ventrone is eligible for the Practice Squad....(I know there are 3rd years..in 05 he was but in 06 injured...so he might be..) Only 4 RBs with Evans...they will keep 5... No PUP players??? I definitely think Neal is on it..maybe Wright and Ross...
  5. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    I would love to have 3 TEs but someone would have to go and the TE candidates are less than impressive. O'Callaghan and Vrabel play situational TE but your point about injury is well taken. I would expect at least one TE on the PS to use for the next game after an injury.

    RB is interesting. I agree Jordan was signed for a reason and will likely be on the active 45. I just can't fit him on the roster yet without whacking a special teams ace or shorting another position. I think the Jordan and Aiken situations will sort themselves out later so I'll sit pat for now.

    I'm not dealing with PUP at the moment but will closer to cutodown day. I agree with Neal and think Yates fills the void early in the season (making Yates a player to watch in the pre-season). Wright has Le Kevin and Santonio looking to take his DL snaps and a whole slew of folks eyeing his ST duties. Ross was a warm body that couldn't even reach room temperature.
  6. Urgent

    Urgent Rookie

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    Great work.

    I think Jordan makes the team - he offers a lot on offense.
    I think Aiken makes the team, Ventrone is less likely, and CJackson is at risk, but we'll see.
    I think Hobson is less of a sure thing to make the roster than you do.
    If Webster comes back, since he was running with the One's, I assume he would make it over Richardson.

    The battles:

    QB - Cassell, O'Connell, Gutierrez - pick two
    ST - Aiken, Washington, CJackson, Guyton, Izzo, Ventrone - pick maybe four
    CB - Webster, Wilhite, Richardson, Sanders - pick one
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Allow me to re-organize you to focus on differences. Not counting PUP, I agree with your first 48 except for the your inclusion of a high school QB.

    YOUR LAST 5 Izzo, Spann*, Ventrone*, Guyton, Richardson,
    MY LAST SEVEN 7 Izzo, Pollard, Jordan, Thomas, Alexander, Spann and Richardson
    with Wright and Neal on the PUP list.
    1) I think Cassel is hopeless.
    2) I prefer Alexander over Guyton. He is fine STer and an emergency backup.
    3) Belichick's offense requires 3 TE's, especially in case of injury.
    4) Jordan is making this squad. He is a major addition.
    5) Ventrone is a board binky every year. There is no reason to think that he goes anywhere but the Practice Squad.
    6) Richardson seems to the odd man out.

    BOTTOM LINE CUTS FROM YOUR SQUAD
    Cassel, Guyton and Ventrone



    YOUR ROSTER
    QB (3): Brady, Cassel, O'Connell*
    RB (4): Maroney, Faulk, Morris, Evans
    WR (5): Moss, Welker, Gaffney, CJackson, Washington
    TE (2): Watson, DThomas
    OL (9): Light, Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Kaczur, O'Callaghan, Hochstein, Britt*, Yates*
    DL (6): Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green, Wright, LSmith*
    LB (7): Bruschi, Mayo, Vrabel, AThomas, Hobson, Crable, Woods
    CB (4): Hobbs, Bryant, Wheatley, Wilhite
    S (4): Harrison, JSanders, Meriweather, TWilliams
    SPEC (4): Gostkowski, Hanson, Paxton, Slater
    ST/UTILITY (5): Izzo, Spann*, Ventrone*, Guyton, Richardson,
  8. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Me too...but who do you cut from the active 45?

    Again, I think Aiken makes it but who goes? I think CJack is too talented to cut unless he coughs up a serious hairball in the next couple of weeks. Ventrone is currently "inactive" on the depth chart and I don't think Aiken makes it unless he has a steady role on the active 45. Could he be battling Washington for a single spot?

    I listed him as "Hanging On"...hardly a vote of confidence on my part.

    Actually I think he displaced Wilhite on my list and likely only one of Wilhite/Richardson survives...which is what I had originally. It all depends on when Webster can get back on the practice field.
  9. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    I have no objective information that argue against your points. My only consideration (and I think we have disagreed on this in the past) is that I see a clear difference between carving out a spot/role on the gameday active 45 vs. just making the 53 man roster. That is why I have trouble with Aiken, Jordan and Alexander. Not because I don't think they are better than Guyton or Richardson or Ventrone...but because I don't think you keep a vet player if you aren't sure he is active every week (assuming a mostly healthy team).

    Cassel is interesting because I actually agree with you. I only flip-flopped based on practice snaps. If Cassel continues to get the backup practice time, I can't see how he doesn't stick as the #2. If Gutierrez starts to steal some of those reps, Cassel get re-flipped back onto the unemployment line.
  10. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    I don't know enough about the STs positions to know what body-types play which spots. It would seem that Aiken, Washington, Slater, and CJack would compete for similar positions on the coverage teams. Slater and CJack would compete against each other (or pair-up) on the return teams.

    A STs coverage unit with Woods, Aiken, Washington, and Slater seems like it would be among the best in the league. It might be hard for Belichick to resist that tempation, and find a way to make all these guys stick.

    I don't think Chad Jackson's job is in jeopardy, but the fact that two receivers are such good STs players and Slater is apparently such a good returner should help focus his mind.

    Edit: not implying Woods is in jeopardy, just including him as one of the top STs coverage guys.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  11. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    I doubt that will happen..if one looks at their past it is highly unlikely...looking at 02-07, a total of 110 games (reg season & playoffs, in 96 of those games, the Pats had 3 tight ends on the 53 roster. Of the remaining 14, in 9 of those, they had 4 tightends--the Garrett Mills experiment. Only in 5 games last year did they only have 2 tight ends on the 53. I think they will carry 3.
    With O'Callaghan on the mend, that takes away an option if the team kept 2. It's that simple..they will cut elsewhere.
    Jordan will stay as they will have 5 RBs..I really believe they will have a strong running game and having Maroney, Morris, Faulk and Jordan will insure it.
    Well..the PUP situation will change what look at for a roster..in a way with linemen, it REALLY doesn't change that much as I think 9 and 7 are the numbers allocated to OL/DL very little flexibility here ;.a backup moves up and one who might be cut moves into the backup position. It was known Ross was coming off knee surgery so that is not at all a surprise. I doubt he was expected ro be ready..
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  12. Shoofyou10

    Shoofyou10 Rookie

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    Just wanted to give you guys an update as I talked to Bubba Ventrone last night.

    He said he will play the whole game on Special Teams tonight and get some time at WR. But the surprise he said was that the secondary coach told him that they were going to use him at Cornerback in the second half. He said he has not lined up as a CB since his freshman year at Villanova. He was really surprised but said that he just has to go out there and get an INT off of Joe Flacco. Seems to me that they are really trying to make him as versitile as possible.

    As for his chance to make the team, last year he did start off on the practice squad but he was put on the 53 man roster for the last couple of games and all through the playoffs and not only that but he was active on gameday. I know there is more competition this year and I dont know if he will make it or not but dont discount his chances.
  13. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great info. Mrs B will be exctatic. Hope it's so.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We do disagree with regard to the construction of the 45 man roster, the place for STers, and the place for veteran backups.

    1) The composition of the 45 man roster changes every week, and NOT only because of injuries. Different offensive and defensive game plans will cause a slightly different mix of active and inactive players. For example, when we play Favre we will have exactly zero inactive defensive backs. Some offensive game plans require an extra TE, or RB or WR; some require one fewer.

    2) There shouldn't be more than one STer on the inactive squad. Guys like Spann are either active or unemployed. My inactive squad will almost always have 2 DL's and 2 OL's. The rest depend on game plans and injuries.

    3) There is always room for a developmental player or perhaps two buried on the inactive squad. The real question is who do you want on the inactive roster to be activated next week in case of injury? Do you want a rookie who has never played, or do you want a veteran. Who would you rather have as your injury insurance policy? I believe my answer now and forever is that this is the role for a low-cost veteran.

  15. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    Stupar, Spach, Pollard, these are guys who will be available in a pinch whether they're on the 53 or not. Stupar and Spach, I believe, can be stashed on the practice squad with very little risk of being snatched up by another team, and if they are, there are always loads of marginal blocking, very limited receiving tight ends to be found on the street (just look at Spach and Marcellus last season). They don't warrant a spot on the fifty three just because they play tight end.

    Tight end, in this offense, isn't as important as it was two seasons ago, so attempting to justify a roster spot for a marginal player because of what the Patriots have "historically" done just doesn't cut it... with me, at least.

    I don't think it's prudent to attempt to project a fifty three at this point, so I'm just going to add some food for thought in this discussion:

    Mike Reiss believes Alexander has some value to this club as a passing downs, coverage LB. We've heard some good things regarding Alexander's coverage abilities the last couple of days and he's made some plays in that regard. He's probably never going to amount to a prototypical 3-4 ILB but he is a good special teamer and may provide something in certain sub packages.

    Sam Aiken has been lining up as the protector (I believe that's the term Reiss used) in punt formations, a position Izzo has played in his time with the Pats. He's been a demon on 'teams before and is showing some flexibility in that regard. I think it's hard to leave him off the roster.

    I don't think all four open the year on PUP, but it's getting harder and harder to see Green, Wright, Neal and Ross all starting the year "healthy." It's probably a safer bet to think 1 or 2 will be PUPed for the start of the season.

    And I've been saying for a while now that I don't think Izzo makes the team. I still don't.

    I'd also shy away from assuming gameday inactives and the active forty-five are set in stone simply for the fact that injuries make it impossible to do so and weekly match-ups and schemes require different personnel. There are some that are a given (third QB) but replacing players based on inactivity seems shortsighted (Guyton for Alexander because Alexander is a veteran, for example).
  16. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    2 TE's are critical to our running game, especially on short yardage. Personally, I don't like 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 1 to be a passing down in the red zone. Belichick may or may not be willing to depend on the Practice Squad in case of injury at TE. We'll see. You think that Belichick will all of a sudden change how he fills the TE position, and its importance. I disagree.

    Maybe this the year that Izzo retires. Are you one of those who has suggested that Izzo should be cut the past three years because he useless as a LB? He certainly is. But I am fine if Aiken beats him out for his ST spot.

    Alexander is our #4 ILB, pure and simple. Many here believe that Guyton will beat him out for his roster spot. This make little sense to me. The choices will be a bit more difficult if and when Seau returns.

    None of us know how many of the PUP four will return before the season starts. There is no downside to keeping them on PUP if they can't practice at this point. We should give them a couple of months to recover.

  17. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    If we were talking about chess pieces, I would absolutely agree with you and mgteich. Take Alexander for instance. Say he is #4 on the ILB depth chart (and even worse if you include Tank and Rodney in the equation) and behind Izzo, Woods, etc. for a ST role, it would be hard to get him gameday active without some kind of injury.

    You see an inactive Alexander providing solid depth. I see a 26 year old player in a contract year not getting any game action to improve his skills and demonstrate his abilities for potential future employers. Anyone would think that arrangement sucked and I don't think Belichick would do that to a veteran player. Same for Jordan or Aiken.

    That is why I see the 8 inactive spots as needing special consideration for non-developmental players. Telling a veteran player not to dress for a game repeatedly will result in an unhappy player, a sucky locker room presence and likely uneven performances when he does happen to get playing time.
  18. mdhprime

    mdhprime Rookie

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    The only thing that leaps out immediately is Evans. I think he is a lock at FB since he is the only true lead blocker on the roster.
  19. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    If O'Callaghan isn't available to play in the short yardage/power package, I don't see how the Pats can avoid carrying a 3rd TE as you suggest.

    I keep thinking that Izzo will retire before the final cutdown (freeing up a role for Aiken) unless injuries pile up on ST.

    I don't think Guyton can take Alexander's role as a backup ILB. He showed the necessary physical skills at GA Tech, but not the aptitude. He is a project that has demonstrated solid ST skills. That is how he makes the roster, which I believe is fairly independent of Alexander.

    Working for Alexander: solid camp and Hobson not standing out.
    Working against Alexander: Tank getting reps at ILB

    Agree. I think the names we have been haggling over will likely be sorted out by the current PUP situation and the inevitable IR situations before cutdown day.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  20. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    Two TEs are, and what part of having two tight ends doesn't allow for you to use two TEs in the game?

    For the bulk of last season the Patriots suited up only two tight ends on gamedays. Entering December, they were content with Watson and Kyle Brady as the only two TEs on the roster. It wasn't until injuries to both of those players did they sign Spach (who was substituting at a school when he got the call). Even after that signing, from the middle of December to February, all three TEs played on gameday once, in the Championship game, and Spach, the third tight end, played eight snaps that day. From December on, when they went to three tight ends or more they either brought in Mike Vrabel, Ryan O'Callaghan, or Wesley Britt.

    I don't think there's much to disagree with concerning their recent usage of the third tight end.

    I didn't call for Izzo being cut the last several seasons but even if I was, that has nothing to do with my thinking right now. Izzo, when he was the best special teamer on the Patriots, was worth his singular role. He's no longer the best special teamer and I feel there are at least three other players who are better than he is as well as providing a backup in another area of the game. That's the only reason I feel he shouldn't make this team.
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