July 30, 2009
With the Patriots first training camp practice beginning in just a few minutes, I thought I’d take a look at a couple of roster moves the Patriots made over the last couple of days.
To start, the Patriots released two players; cornerback Jamar Love and offensive lineman Jermail Porter. They finalized a four year contract with 2nd round pick Patrick Chung, as well as sixth round pick Jake Ingram.
The Pats also worked out one player, outside linebacker Stryker Sulak. Sulak was a sixth round pick in this years draft, but was unexpectedly released by the Raiders last week. At 6-5, 265 pounds, Sulak is an ideal fit as a pass rushing outside linebacker, although playing defensive tackle mostly throughout college, he could be solid in run support as well.
The Patriots also placed five players on the active/PUP list. The players placed on the physically include Ty Warren, Shawn Crable, Rich Ohrnberger, Darryl Richard, and Mark LeVoir. Rookie wide receiver Brandon Tate was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.
That pretty much wraps everything up. The Pats’ first practice is beginning as I write this, so tune in tonight with my thoughts on what I saw today.
July 17, 2009
Over the past 48 hours, the New England Patriots have been really busy completing contracts for their rookies. They have wrapped up deals with Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Tate, and Darryl Richard.
And now, according to Pro Football Talk, they have signed the 40th overall pick of the draft, nose tackle Ron Brace.
Left unsigned are 2nd round draft choice Patrick Chung, 3rd rounder Tyrone McKenzie, as well as George Bussey and Jake Ingram.
June 5, 2009
The Patriots just made the second greatest move possible. The first would be re-signing Antowain Smith. But, well, yeah.
The Patriots have announced the signing of veteran running back Patrick Pass.
Patrick Pass: Hells yeah!
Pass, as you may remember, won three Super Bowls with the Patriots from 2000-2006. His rookie year he was purely a halfback, but he later bulked up and was actually the Patriots’ starting fullback for the 2004 Super Bowl season (and part of 2003).
Patrick Pass can do a little bit of everything. He can carry the ball on first and second downs as a tailback. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He can both return and cover kicks, play third down back, and even line up at fullback.
Pass most recently played for the Giants in 2007. He also played for the Texans.
Pass joins a backfield that includes Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk. While he may have a hard time making the 53, his versatility should give him an added boost.
The Patriots also announced the release of four players; Angelo Craig, Kenny Smith, Omar Cuff, and Marcus McClinton.
May 27, 2009
The Patriots have made a move to upgrade their inside linebacking corps with the addition of inside linebacker Paris Lenon.
Lenon has spent his entire career as a 4-3 middle linebacker, so he will have to make the transition to 3-4 inside linebacker for the Patriots. Assuming he can make this transition, he could be a big boost for the Patriots. Lenon, 31, recorded 118 and 121 tackles in his last two seasons with the Lions, and can add sure tackling, experience, and smarts to the Patriots. Here is what ESPN’s Scouts Inc. had to say on Lenon prior to the 2008 season:
Lenon is a six year player coming off his best season as the second leading tackler for the Detroit defense. He has good height and has grown into his body nicely. He is a solid athlete, but not an explosive player. He runs well and shows good range in pursuit. He has burst to close and agility to slip blockers or change directions to get to the pile. He uses his hands well, while pursuing with proper angles to work through trash to stay in the fray. He is a solid wrap tackler, but needs to keep his pads over his feet better. He has improved his reactions and appears to be more instinctive over this past season. He has a good feel for route progressions and leveraging the ball as well as having enough athleticism to be an effective man coverage defender. He has worked himself into a starting position and should continue to improve given his intelligence, work ethic and durability.
While Lenon likely won’t be making any Pro Bowl appearances, he could easily push Bruschi and Guyton for playing time on the inside. And if things turn out well, he could be an option for 2010 if Bruschi does retire.
The Patriots hosted Lenon on a visit last week. Interestingly, they hosted former Rams inside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa this week as well. Although with the addition of Lenon, I wouldn’t expect the Patriots to add Tinoisamoa.
April 30, 2009
The New England Patriots have completed a trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tight end Alex Smith. The trade is for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick, according to an announcement by the team.
This trade should be for a later pick, so I like it. Smith isn’t exactly known for his blocking (although he isn’t particularly bad in this area), but rather for his receiving. Smith, who went to college at Stanford, joins a tight end group that includes Ben Watson, Chris Baker, David Thomas, Brad Listorti, and Tyson DeVree. Baker and Watson presumably have their spots locked down, so Smith could compete with David Thomas for the 3rd tight end spot (although DeVree could make the roster as an h-back).
Interestingly, Smith’s contract expires after 2009, as with every other tight end on the Patriots roster minus Chris Baker. I assume the Patriots want to see if Smith, whose catch total has fallen in each of his four seasons, can show something more than say David Thomas, who has also been a relative disappointment considering his pass-catching ability.
March 16, 2009
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports:
The New England Patriots have announced a slew of transactions via an e-mail circulated moments ago.
Free-agent center Al Johnson has joined the team after spending the last month of 2008 with the Dolphins.
Also, four players have re-signed with the Pats: offensive lineman Wesley Britt, safety Ray Ventrone, safety Tank Williams, and defensive lineman Mike Wright.
Johnson was drafted by the Cowboys in 2003. He missed his rookie season due to an injury, but then started 15 games in 2004 and 16 in 2005.
After losing the starting job to Andre Gurode in 2006, Johnson signed with the Cardinals in 2007. He started 14 games in his first season with the team.
The Cardinals released Johnson from injured reserve in October 2008, and he signed with the Dolphins on November 29.
Al Johnson could become a key role player along the line for the Patriots in 2009 as he brings a good amount of experience and skill to the table. However, unless he can play multiple positions on the line, he shouldn’t be considered a lock to make the team.
Of the four players re-signed, the two big names are Tank Williams and Mike Wright. After being signed in Spring 2008, Tank Williams was having a strong pre-season and looked to be the fourth safety for the Patriots, before he went down with a season ending injury. Williams was actually playing inside linebacker at times, so if he is healthy for 2009, he could be a key role player. This signing could mean that Rodney Harrison is leaning towards retirement.
Mike Wright has been a nice role player for the Patriots along the defensive line since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005. Last year, Wright recorded 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Wright can play both defensive end and nose tackle. With Richard Seymour, Jarvis Green, and Vince Wilfork all expiring after 2009, the Pats may look for Wright to become the “4th man” along the line. Yesterday, ESPN first reported that the deal was 4 years at $7.5 million. Escalators and playing time incentives could push it up to another $10 million.
Wesley Britt is a massive 6-8, 320 pounds and has been with the Patriots for three years, playing in 16 games with two starts. Ray Ventrone, a hybrid safety/receiver and key special teams contributor, was an exclusive rights free agent.
March 11, 2009
The Patriots have found a replacement for recently departed long snapper Lonnie Paxton. Today, the Patriots announced the signing of former Arizona Cardinal Nathan Hodel. Hodel has long-snapped for the Cardinals since 2002, and has never missed a snap. He’s also never missed a game.
Pretty good stuff if you ask me.
Now, I never want to hear his name again. Seriously.
If we don't get used to this guy, it's a good thing.