Over the years, that has been the view of many. In this view, anyone can be trained to play special teams. And certainly special teams isn't important enough for starters. After all, they might be injured. I strongly disagree. Gunners are critical positions. Returners can change games. Special team tacklers and blockers are important. And there are players whose primary skill is special teams. I cringed whenever Izzo or Davis played linebacker in their last years, but they were great special teamers. Perhaps we do not have GREAT special teams. The answer is not to cut the special teamers! The answer is to upgrade them. We will likely have better returners this year; Belichick has certainly made the effort to secure returners over the past two years. Perhaps Murrell is indeed worthy of a special teams spot as an upgrade to our special teamers. =================================================== Belichick has always had players that we thought would be cut and who were one of the top special teamers, and they were never cut. Belichick has almost always started the best punt returner or kick returner even if they were a starter, and kept special teamers even if they could do nothing else. For Belichick, points and yards gained on special teams counts as much as on defense or offense. For Belichick, there are starters on special teams. The reality is that there are special-teams-only positions on the patriots. If the best special teamers are also starters or key backups, there is no roster issue. They already have a roster spot. The issue comes when we are evaluating the ability of special teamers to play a position ion an emergency. After all, isn't it important that Alexander is a linebacker. Surely, Slater is more valuable since he is a safety, wide receiver and a punt returner. The fact that NO ONE should ever want either on the field seems to have no import at all. For me, we have a team with solid backups to cover two injuries at every position but quarterback, OG and OLB. Even at OG and OLB, there are options. I just think that the depth is weak. The depth is much better than any special teamer only player might give. =============================== BOTTOM LINE My offensive roster has 24 players with no need for emergency special teamers. My defensive roster has 23 players (6 DL, 9 OLB and 8 DB) with no need for emergency special teamers. IMHO, There is room for THREE special-team-only players. We ended last year with Aiken, Arrington, Alexander, Lockett, Green-Ellis and Slater. I wouldn't want any of these on the field playing positions, even on an emergency basis. Aiken was used when we didn't come into camp with sufficeint backups at WR. Green-Ellis was NOT used even when there were two injuries. The OPEN question is whether any of the remaining positions is needed for a position. If not, we have three positions that can be special-teams only. Or perhaps at least one of these players, or even two must be an emergency defensive back. My PERSONAL PREFERENCE is to have a 5th corner (and 2 special teams only players), but that is a personal preference. After all, we have started the season with as few as three corners. Most would simply cut one of Wheatley, Wilhite and Arrington. ==================================================== If special teams were not so critical, we might carry a 5th RB, a 5th CB, and a 7th DL as emegency depth and for development instead of the special teamers. We might even carry a 3rd QB or a 10th OL.