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News » Pats don't Feeley it


Pats don't Feeley it


Pats don't Feeley itFOXBORO - Finally, 53.

The Patriots whittled their roster down to the NFL-mandated limit of 53 players last night, doing so with two trades and 10 cuts that cleared up at least one pressing issue. Yet perhaps the trade that didn't happen is just as notable.

The Pats believe they solidified their tight end position by releasing Alex Smith, sending a conditional 2011 draft pick to the Giants for Michael Matthews, and dealing David Thomas to the Saints for a seventh-rounder in '11.

Barring a late-night trade, it appears coach Bill Belichick has elected to keep just two players to throw to them. The team declined to follow through on a much-rumored deal for Eagles backup quarterback A.J. Feeley or another veteran, leaving just Tom Brady and rookie free agent Brian Hoyer.

On Friday, Belichick addressed his goals.

``Trying to get our team ready for opening day,'' Belichick said, ``but also with an eye toward all 16 games and having the best roster, best team that we can have for the long term.''

Along with Smith, the team released first-year defensive lineman Titus Adams, fourth-year tackle Wesley Britt, fourth-year safety Herana-Daze Jones, veteran linebacker Paris Lenon, rookie defensive back Jamar Love, rookie receiver Terrence Nunn, veteran tackle Ryan O'Callaghan, rookie defensive lineman Darryl Richard and veteran special teamer Ray Ventrone.

Six players were released Friday, including QB Andrew Walter.

Some of the players cut will wind up on the Pats' practice squad.

The decision regarding Ventrone may have raised eyebrows among fans. He played in 15 games last season and contributed on special teams.

``(Ventrone) was hopeful he would've made the team, but he was very appreciative of the opportunity,'' said his agent, Joe Linta. ``If he's not claimed, he'll probably be one of the first guys off the bench if there's an injury. There is a lot of respect on both sides.''

Offensive lineman George Bussey (2009 seventh-round pick, knee), linebacker Shawn Crable (2008 third-round pick, groin) and running back Chris Taylor (free agent, shoulder) were placed on injured reserve and will miss the season.

For Bussey, it was a good news/bad news situation. He wasn't cut, but he'll miss the season while he undergoes knee surgery.

``Can't do anything if you're not healthy,'' said his agent, Cary Mark Fabrikant. ``He's going to focus on not eating sweets. The love of his life is culinary, so we need to keep him away from that. No, but he understands. The fact that they want to keep him around means, we think, they know he can be useful in the future.''

The day included some hard choices.

Nunn, a feel-good story, was sent home despite having what Belichick called an ``impressive'' camp. The former Nebraska player who sat out all of 2008 was called by at least two teams within 30 minutes of his release.

Special teamer Matthew Slater suffered what looked to be an ugly injury Thursday, but he earned a roster spot, anyway. O'Callaghan and Britt were both veteran tackles, a sign the team wanted to go younger on the line.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich, a late addition to camp, made the team, while the oft-injured Crable will sit out another season. The team kept five running backs, including productive BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

As for the trades, Thomas had been slated to be the blocking tight end, which is where Matthews likely will figure in. Giants coach Tom Coughlin appeared torn.

``Mike Matthews was very difficult for us to have to say goodbye to,'' Coughlin said. ``A try-hard guy that nobody gives a chance and he comes in and he's the right man in the right place at the right time and wins a Super Bowl ring in his rookie year.''

- irapoport@bostonherald.com

GRAPHIC: Patriots 2009 OPENING ROSTER

Quarterback 2 Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

The skinny: They could stick with two, but expect a third quarterback, likely a veteran, to arrive at some point.

Running back 5 Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

The skinny: With injury and age issues, the team has plenty of options and with Green-Ellis, it has youth, too.

Tight end: 3 Chris Baker, David Thomas, Benjamin Watson

The skinny: Alex Smith, a notable offseason acquisition, was a disappointment. But Watson sticks around to see if he can put it all together.

Receiver 6 Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis, Julian Edelman, Sam Aiken

The skinny: Terrence Nunn was a close call for this talented group, but he may be a practice squad player -- if he clears waivers

Offensive line 9 Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Nick Kaczur, Sebastian Vollmer, Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendell, and Ryan O'Callaghan.

The skinny: No surprise that the starters return, but the Patriots did part ways with vets such as Wesley Britt and Billy Yates. The reserves are younger.

Defensive line 8 Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Richard Seymour, Jarvis Green, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Mike Wright, Derrick Burgess

The skinny: With the 4-3 having a bigger place in the playbook, the depth is required here. One of the team's strengths, especially with Burgess as a pass-rusher.

Inside Linebacker 3 Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Eric Alexander

The skinny: A thin group without Tedy Bruschi, but strong enough to cut reserve Paris Lenon.

Outside linebacker: 4 Tully Banta-Cain, Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods, Shawn Crable.

The skinny: Despite spending most of the preseason injured, Crable gets another chance to prove he can live up to his talents, even if he does it behind Woods.

Cornerback: 5 Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, Jonathan Wilhite, Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley

The skinny: Maybe the most unproven group, with Springs injured and Wilhite, Butler, and Wheatley having as much inexperience as skills.

Safety: 4 Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Pat Chung, Brandon McGowan.

The skinny: Ray Ventrone (cut) and Matthew Slater (IR) would have made this group deeper for special teams impact.

Specialists; Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Chris Hanson, and snapper Jake Ingram.

The skinny; Gostkowski hasn't missed a beat all camp, but Hanson has shown the most improvement.

Compiled by Ian R. Rapoport


Play FOX Fantasy Football

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 7, 2009

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