I'm sure it struck many of you as much as it did me, that BB decided on a very deep PUP list coming into TC. A lot of those players could probably practice with the team at 80 or 90%, but BB chose to take a conservative approach. Started me thinking: What does stacking the PUP list with a lot of players do for the team? Well, for one, it locks players up on the team without costing us any roster spots. Granted, if they dont come off the list before the season starts, we cant activate them until Week 6... but that's not such a bad thing, really: 1) a 16 game season is more of a marathon than a sprint. Any player who joins the roster in Week 7, will still play a full 10 game schedule, and come into the playoffs in peak form without the same number of bruises and flesh wounds than his teammates. 2) our first six games are pretty soft, with a heavy dose of Jets and Bills. 3) we always lose players to IR during the season. Having a PUP filled with players who know the scheme and can step right in is a real luxury. 4) there's always that "spark off the bench" factor that Bruschi brought to the D last year So, giving players like Harrison and Koppen the opportunity to get 100% healthy and 110% ready to play may actually be a brilliant strategic move, over a 16-game season, plus playoffs. Stashing them on the PUP gives players like Sanders and Scott, Hochstein and Tucker more snaps and experience with the team, fire-proofing those players for the long haul, exposing their weaknesses for development. The flip side of the PUP is our use of the IR. Over the course of the season, BB has shown a willingness, even a propensity, to throw players onto the IR-- which ends the player's season, but saves him for the franchise coming into the next season, again without costing a roster spot. PUP and IR are just a couple of useful loopholes in the limitations on the number of roster spots a team has available in the course of a season. BB has always kept a shadow roster, but the risk of releasing players to recall them in a situation of need (ex: Hank Poteat, Gene Mruczkowski) is that we may lose them to other teams-- Dexter Reid (now with the Colts) comes to mind. If BB could have put him on PUP or IR, I think he would have. By "using" players early in the season and sending them to the IR, to be replaced with fresh and healthy veterans off the PUP, effectively increases the size of the roster from 53 to something closer to 60. Having a guy like Bam Childress on the PUP is just about ideal. He's shown just enough potential, that another team would bring him into camp if we left him unprotected. And, if we have an injury at WR, bringing him onto the roster from the PUP list would he a great way to backfill with a player who knows the system. Sullivan on the PUP is convenient, too, in case four weeks into the season we realize that LeKevin Smith just cant cut the mustard (ie. he "tightens" up, gets sent to the IR, and we buy another year to work him into the right shape.) Kaczur on PUP helps thin the density of talent we have at OT, with Light, Gorin, Britt, O'Callaghan all legitimate players. And if history is any experience, the chances of losing us an OT to the IR is pretty high. Bringing Kaczur off the PUP, is a huge shot in the arm. For a coach who values team depth, physical smashmouth play and is planning for a 19 game season, these are the types of creative tools you need to keep the team fresh and productive.