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New England Patriots News 9-06, Initial 53-man Roster Formed

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
September 6, 2020 at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 9-06, Initial 53-man Roster Formed
Posted: Sep 06, 2020 05:00
🕑 Read Time: 7 minutes

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 09-06 and AFC East notes this week. 

The Patriots are just a week away from the season-opening game against the Miami Dolphins. 

The team made their final cuts (and true to form didn’t release them publicly until long after the 4 p.m. deadline) for the initial 53-man roster. Surprises? A few as well as some thoughts on the initial roster below. And again we say “initial” because there will be changes…first of all, is signing (or resigning) a kicker. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

Cam Newton: The Patriots’ QB said he had no words on being selected as a team captain, taking nothing for granted. “As far as when it comes to this team, there is nothing I wouldn’t do besides put their best interest at heart. To be named a captain was just something that was just rewarding to hear, but at the same time, now the real work kind of starts for me.”

Asked what is the most exciting part of the upcoming new-look Patriots offense, he grinned. “I think the most exciting thing is that nobody knows, and you’re still not going to know. So you just have to tune in and see,” he said. 

Dolphins Release QB Josh Rosen: Miami has released QB Josh Rosen which is a bit of a head-scratcher. With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa firmly entrenched as the #1-2 starters for Miami, Rosen had little chance of ever seeing the field. However, now they have to sign a 3rd QB to round out the roster, and having a QB who has been in the system for a year plus, and whose rookie contract was mainly picked up by Arizona in the trade made sense. But the Dolphins are on the hook for $3.8 million in the next couple of years. Looks like a salary dump. 

I was never a fan of Rosen’s game but he’s never really got a great atmosphere to show what he can do. It will be interesting to see if he gets any looks now. 

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. We recorded a podcast recently with our great supporter and die-hard Patriots fan @clazzyclare from the UK. She’s an aspiring novelist and always tunes in the 4th & 2, Patriots Unfiltered, and One Patriots Place podcasts. Check it out. 

Russ Francis/ Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.

Patriots Release 24 Players: 

The Patriots released the following players :

WR Andre Baccellia, TE/DE Rashod Berry, DL Tashawn Bower, OL Ben Braden, DB Myles Bryant, TE Jake Burt, TE Paul Butler, K Nick Folk, OL Tyler Gauthier, LB Terez Hall, LB Scoota Harris, QB Brian Lewerke, LB Cassh Maluia, RB Lamar Miller, DL Bill Murray, TE Paul Quessenberry, K Justin Rohrwasser, DB D’Angelo Ross, WR Devin Ross, RB J.J. Taylor, WR Jeff Thomas, DL Nick Thurman, DL Xavier Williams, and WR Isaiah Zuber.

The biggest surprise was that they cut both kickers which means they have their eye on someone else or that they’ll bring one or possibly both Justin Rohrwasser and Nick Folk back at some point. Another surprise was LB Cassh Maluia who it was thought had a very good summer. He and fellow LBers Terez Hall and Scoota Harris could end up on the practice squad. Other defensive players that could also end up remaining in Foxboro are DL Bill Murray, Nick Thurman, and DBs Myles Bryant and D’Angelo Ross

Offensively, many in the national media thought that the release of RB Lamar Miller was a surprise. We didn’t think so and thought he’d end up on PUP or IR-Return. We hated to see RB J.J. Taylor go, by all accounts, he had a solid summer but was a victim of numbers. The same with WR Jeff Thomas; we’ve been harping on his skills since they signed him this spring. But he was injured and missed too much time. If those two clear waivers, I’d be surprised if they didn’t bring both back. Unfortunately, the Patriots long streak of having a UDFA make the initial 53-man roster is over. While there were several that we believed had a good chance of sticking, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic made that doubly hard in 2020. With no rookie minicamp, no team OTAs or mini-camp, a shortened training camp without much hitting and no preseason games, the UDFAs this year were simply victims of bad timing. 

A Look at the Initial 53-Man Roster: 

The Patriots have their initial 53-man roster and no doubt this will change in the next day or two. As we mentioned above, the team cut both kickers and kept (for now) 10 offensive linemen. Surprising to say the least. Let’s take a look by position:

QBs: (3) Brian Hoyer, Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham. Absolutely no surprise there. 

RBs: (5): Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Jakob Johnson, Sony Michel, James White. Again no surprises, this is who we had in projection. It was hard to part with Taylor, but hopefully, he’ll return. 

WRs: (6) Damiere Byrd, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater. No surprises again, although look for them to add someone here. “C’mon Bill, get Cam some Weaponz!” Hmm heard that before.  Hopefully, Jeff Thomas clears waivers and returns.

TEs: (3) Devin Asiasi, Ryan Izzo, Dalton Keene. No surprises there. 

OL: (10) Yodny Cajuste, Korey Cunningham, Justin Herron, Jermaine Eluemunor, Isaiah Wynn,  David Andrews, Hjalte Froholdt, Shaq Mason, Michael Onwenu, Joe Thuney. The fact that they kept 10 means they must like their players. 

Interior DL: (5): Beau Allen, Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise. No big surprises here, we liked Murray but he may return and find his way on STs

Edge OLB: (4): Shilique Calhoun, Derek Rivers, John Simon, Chase Winovich. Rivers and Calhoun had impressive summers and make the roster. Look for the team to lean heavily on Calhoun and Winovich. Other than Simon, they have precious little experience there. 

Interior LB: (4): Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Copeland, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche. Jennings and Uche have the versatility to move inside or outside. They’ve lost an awful lot of experience there, but they have some youth and athleticism. It will be interesting to see what they can do. Bentley is now the man in the middle.

CBs: (6): Justin Bethel, Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams. No surprises here. The deepest position on the roster. Bryant and Ross in years past would have made the team. Not with this depth.  

Safeties: (5): Terrence Brooks, Cody Davis, Kyle Dugger, Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips. All of them make the roster and they seem to have a great mix (in the entire secondary) of youth, experience, and depth. 

STs: (2): Jake Bailey (P), Joe Cardona (LS). The big surprise here. Who is kicking the ball for the Patriots in 2020? We should know the answer to that question shortly. And who will be returning kicks? To be continued…

Belichick Philosophy on Building the Practice Squad in 2020:

Bill Belichick gave some nice insight into how the Patriots will fill out their initial practice squad in 2020, (it will change a lot as the season wears on). They won’t be able to fill their practice squad until the released players clear waivers. 

The NFL has adjusted its practice squad rules for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The new rules include:

Practice squad sizes have been expanded from 10 to 12 (already agreed upon with the NFLPA) to 16 because of the pandemic. One of the biggest changes is the removal of the experience restriction. 

Previously if a player had spent more than three accrued seasons on a practice squad or was active in a certain amount of games on an active roster, they could no longer be signed to a practice squad. That rule has been removed and any player regardless of experience can be signed to a team’s practice squad. 

Teams can now protect four players each week who cannot be signed on another team’s roster. They can change those at any time. With the change of the IR-Return rules, now teams can designate any number of players on IR to return. Coupled with a shorter IR time, this will no doubt impact the practice squads. 

Belichick spoke about how the team will approach building the practice squad, some of which he’s always done, but how things may change a bit this year. He broke down  practice squad players into three categories:

Developmental players – players who have the potential of becoming active and contributing players on the roster who need seasoning and experience.

Almost Game-Ready Players – A player who is already familiar with the Patriots’ system, and who may be just slightly behind an active roster player on the depth chart.

Practice or ‘Camp’ Bodies – A player who isn’t considered ready for the active roster but fulfills a particular role with the scout team in preparing the team for upcoming opponents on the schedule.

“You need that practice squad player to participate in practice so that you can maintain the quality of practice that you want the best you can so that you can prepare your team for all the things you need to prepare them for,” Belichick said. 

“Some of those positions can fluctuate during the course of the year depending on how the team needs, how those change, and possibly how the players change,” he added.

“I’m sure there will be some variance from team to team and position to position and be based on the 53 needs above it. I think it will be interesting to see how all that plays out.”

Hope For More Football to Return? Sanitizing Tunnels:

We have been missing our normal training camp visits this summer, as well as high school football starting up and going to the movies to see the normal summer blockbusters. But there is a company in Florida that could help open up much of the things we’ve been missing since March. 

Disinfect Group USA, a company out of Fort Myers is manufacturing sanitizing tunnels and walls that can be installed at the entrances of stadiums, theaters, schools, etc. The tunnels resemble the X-ray machines you normally see at airports that are run by the TSA. The tunnels emit a safe disinfecting mist that will clear personnel and their belongings prior to entering a building or venue. 

The mist comes in the form of a dry fog that is made from ingredients already tested and approved by the FDA. It kills 99.99 percent of germs, viruses, and bacteria. It is not harmful to people or their belongings. The mist scores all zeroes on the OSHA-required Safety Data Sheets. The tunnels can also be outfitted with thermal heat sensors that can accurately detect an individual’s body temperatures. 

Face masks and social distancing only go so far, but this will allow people more freedom to congregate in groups and satisfy the politicians (maybe not) who continue to call for no public events. 


“Just one of those things that didn’t work out. I have a lot of respect for Mo, but ultimately things just didn’t work out. I think he tried very hard, I think we tried hard. I don’t think it was anybody’s fault or anything like that. It was just one of those situations that just didn’t work out as well as everyone hoped it would have when the transaction was made. As always, we will try to make the decisions that are best for the football team, whether that’s bringing a person in or releasing a player. Obviously it can go both ways. At this point in time, we felt like that’s best for the team. Last year we felt differently. We’re in a little different situation this year.”

Bill Belichick on being asked about what went into the decision to part with WR Mohamad Sanu.


“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.


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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: 2020 Patriots 53-man Roster
Tags: Bill Belichick Cam Newton Ja'Whaun Bentley James White Jarrett Stidham Julian Edelman New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots 53-man roster Patriots edge rushers

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    Mark Morse
    Mark Morse
    3 years ago

    Could the 10 OL mean they kept one to put on the IR after making the initial 53? Brilliant use of the rules by cutting both K opening up a roster spot to keep another player. Nobody is taking either of these kickers. They have until hours before the Miami game to activate the K from the PS. Disappointed Taylor, Thomas and Mulia were cut. I don’t expect Thomas to make it to the PS.

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