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The Road to 53, Vol. I

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  August 11, 2011 01:00 PM

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And so it begins.

On each exhibition game day, I'll post my snapshot of the 53-man roster at that point. I expect the final version will look much different than this one, and I'm not going to gaze into a crystal ball and guess about injuries. If the players haven't been out there, they are off my radar and roster at this point.

So that made this version much easier. As players return to practice, they will be back in consideration, and I'm sure a lot of them will need a spot on the roster. That's when the choices will be really tough to make.

Until that time, I'm not in the prediction business about guys like Shane Vereen, Brandon Tate, Ras-I Dowling, Ron Brace, or Brandon Deaderick. The NFL is about availability and accountability. You're not in it until you're on the field.

I'll have a few comments at the end.

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Last guys out: OLB Marques Murrell, ILB Tracy White, DT Gerard Warren, DT Steve Williams, DE Aaron Lavarias.

- I really like Murrell, and I think the Patriots do, too. But I don't see how they can keep him. Tarpinian is making this team -- if he stays healthy.
- The Patriots can get by with four running backs. Hopefully Vereen will get healthy and give them options.
- Keep an eye on Jeremy Ross this preseason. But I don't know who he can bump off. Taylor Price can't catch punts, so Edelman sticks unless someone else can take that job.
- I can't decipher between Steve Maneri and Mark LeVoir, so flip a coin. They're even hard to tell apart in one-on-ones. Maneri is 2-8-9. LeVoir is 2-8-8.
- Thought long and hard about going down to four guards/centers. And keep an eye on Chris Morris when he gets healthy. He was making a push. Thomas Austin is really teetering for me.
- All four of the ends are competing with Mark Anderson for the fourth, and possibly fifth, DE position. They've all shown some things.
- Really hard to keep Warren off, but it's all about numbers. And I could see Steve Williams sticking because he can play end and tackle. But at this point, it's hard to keep more than six in the middle.
- White and Cox are good players, but the Patriots can make do with less inside because others can fill in there (Mayo, Guyton, Tarpinian) if injuries hit at ILB.
- Malcolm Williams sticks because the Patriots apparently like what he brings on special teams. But his hold is tenuous.

In the end, injuries are going to have a huge say in the 53-man roster. Injuries are going to happen in the preseason and in practice. They always do.

Questions? Comments? Bring them to our 6 p.m. chat before the game.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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