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Patriots initial 53-man roster

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  September 3, 2011 07:12 PM

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This is by no means the opening-day, or final 53-man roster.

Not with just 23 players on offense and 27 on defense. The Patriots are very thin at tight end and at guard/center. They need another one of each in waivers and free agent signings.

When they make those moves, who would be out?

Here's where the roster currently stands:

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Screen shot 2011-09-03 at 7.05.33 PM.png

Thoughts:

  • The Patriots are way too light at tight end (two) and guard/center (four), so expect them to add there. The team worked out former Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode. He’s certainly an option, but there will be others the Patriots will consider.
  • The most tenuous spots look to be held by DE Mark Anderson, CB Darius Butler (trade?), LB Jeff Tarpinian and DT Gerard Warren -- let alone what the Patriots have up their sleeve at safety.
  • The Patriots could deal with Brandon Meriweather’s shortcomings when the rest of the defense and secondary was young, and Belichick was forced to play safe coverages. But not this year. Not with this scheme. The Patriots are going with the full intention of being an aggressive, pressure defense. They will only be successful if they can play more man coverage on the outside, and that gives greater responsibilities to the safeties. Meriweather would no longer just be the last line of defense.
  • Two plays in the preseason illustrated Meriweather’s struggles. When Jonathan Wilhite came on a slot blitz against Tampa Bay, Meriweather forgot to cover the receiver and the result was a big gain. Against the Lions in the red zone, Meriweather took a false step on play-action and couldn’t recover to clean up over the top of Kyle Arrington’s solid coverage underneath Nate Burleson. That’s just not nearly good enough for a fifth-year player. Is it any wonder that in the next game, Meriweather was assigned scrub duty late in the game?
  • Don’t know what happened to Brandon Tate, one of the team’s ’09 third-round picks, at the midpoint of last season, but he was never the same player. He lost his explosion, and being easily tracked down by Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie on a punt return Thursday night was the final blow.
  • Surprised by Will Yeatman and/or Lee Smith not making the team? You shouldn't be. While Yeatman showed promise, he was way too inconsistent to play for this team. He's not ready yet. A veteran would be a much better option, and perhaps Alge Crumpler is that veteran.
  • Puzzled that the Patriots kept Anderson over Moore at end. Anderson flashed early but appeared to be a one-trick pony in the pass rush department. Moore brings much more versatility and his pass rush is just as good. Plus, he can bull rush. Anderson can't.
  • Funny how Tarpinian and Ryan Wendell made the roster despite lengthy injuries, but Rich Ohrnberger who was there throughout and didn't appear injured against the Giants was placed on injured reserve.
  • The Patriots were going to keep Tarpinian around, just a matter of how. He was the team's highest-paid undrafted free agent and they love him on special teams.
  • Surprised the Patriots couldn't pull off one trade with such a deep roster. Heard they were trying.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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