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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Now It Starts to Get Real in Foxborough for the 2014 Patriots

This next week is one of the most important in any NFL season: rosters are cut down to 75 players on Tuesday then 53 on Saturday. With the third preseason game in the books, the Patriots have gotten a head start on their cuts by releasing veteran defensive linemen Tommy Kelly and Will Smith along with linebacker James Anderson this afternoon.

New England head coach Bill Belichick (and any football coach worth a damn) does this for older players earlier so that they have a chance to catch on somewhere else before the 2014 regular season starts in two weeks. See, he's not completely heartless!

None of these moves were particularly shocking, especially since Kelly and Smith (who are both 33) were each coming off torn ACLs last season. Plus Anderson (who is 31) was signed in June, showing you how little interest he had around the league. The positive way I would spin this for the Pats is that if they are getting rid of quality (albeit washed up) players like this, it says something about what their 53-man roster should look like.

I'll never understand why there are four preseason games in the NFL since the last one is completely devoid of meaning; as always, New England wraps up with the Giants on Thursday (7:30, CBS) in the Meadowlands. Don't expect to see any good/important players in that one, how teams charge anything for that charade is beyond me.

Stay tuned particularly on Tuesday and Saturday for what should be some more interesting moves. Keep in mind that the practice squad has been expanded to ten players this season which makes sense to me given all the injuries picked up during a 16-game season plus the preseason.

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