With the final cut deadline looming, the New England Patriots got all of their cuts done with plenty of time to spare.
Many of these cuts come as no surprise. However, there are a few of them that are head-scratchers. The release of Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard is the first example of that. Given that they have Rob Gronkowski on the mend, why not keep these guys as depth in case he suffers a setback? Even if he come back perfectly healthy, they have only three TE’s on the roster.
The next name that jumps out at me is Marcus Benard. He was expected to be a rotational pass rusher, teaming up with Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. He has been a productive player in camp and has a proven track record in the NFL as a pass rusher. It may be that the team trusts rookie DE Michael Buchanan to fill this role.
Another surprise was the release of Marcus Forston. He was expected to be a big contributor for the Patriots in 2013, especially with Armond Armstead on the mend. In this case, the team must like what they have seen in Tommy Kelly. If not, they would never have made this move. The only problem is that Kelly is creeping up in age and had a very poor season last year. The Patriots will have to hope that he does not run out of gas by season’s end.
The next surprising cut was Zoltan Mesko. He had previously been their starting punter since 2010.
Then there is Tim Tebow. Although he did show improvement in the team’s final preseason game, he did not show enough throughout the preseason to stick on the roster. Completing less than 40 percent of your passes in the preseason will not win you a roster spot in the NFL.
The man with the heart of gold yet no passing accuracy may have played his last professional football game on Thursday night.
Now that the Patriots have made their final cuts, the teams’ depth chart can be calculated and the team will shift their focus to preparing for the Buffalo Bills on September 8.