by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
September 5, 2009

The Patriots have cut down to 53 players tonight, and here’s the knee-jerk reaction;

  • Totals by my count go like this: two QB, five RB, six WR., three TE, nine OL for 25 offensive players; seven DL, eight LB, and ten DB for 25 defensive players, and three special teamers for the full 53.
  • To me the single most amazing thing about the roster is that Matthew Slater is still on it, at least by my tally. Did we not see what we saw Thursday night?
  • The tight end position got all funky at the last minute there. The Pats took the occasion of Dave Thomas’s best camp to get rid of him – a trade to New Orleans for a 7th rounder in ’11. They blew off a fifth-round pick in ’10 by cutting loose Alex Smith, who didn’t seem a fit at all.
  • All that meant was that Ben Watson had made the team, though right to the end it seemed he wouldn’t. He was supposed to be traded to Philadelphia, actually. Instead the Pats traded with the Giants for a gargantuan sixth-lineman type named Michael Matthews, and New England will enter the season with three tight ends.
  • I’ll say again that I thought Watson looked good as a blocking fullback on Thursday and that could also be where he may finally come into his own as a receiver.
  • Freaking Shawn Crable will spend another season on injured reserve. Can you believe that? The Pats once had a linebacker named Rod Shoate who had a similar experience (though I think it was knees with Shoate), and he came back to be a very useful player for a time. I bring this up because it is the only time in my forty-plus years of watching the Patriots that I can think of someone who did that. No matter how you cut it, Shawn Crable is now in his second NFL season and he hasn’t so much as suited up for a game.
  • Eyebrows were raised by LB Rob Ninkovich, sneaking on as the eighth linebacker over Paris Lenon; the arrival of surprise third TE Matthews; and the dispatch of vet tackles O’Callaghan and Britt for Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell, two inside players. Sebastian Vollmer is the only reserve tackle.
  • Sammy Morris, Greg Lewis, Joey Galloway and Eric Alexander, considered by some to be on the bubble, all made it through.
  • As many as 19 players could suit up for their first game as a Patriot next Monday night, including rookie draftees Chung, Brace, Butler, Vollmer, Ohrnberger,  Ingram, Pryor, and Edelman.
  • I still can’t make out what’s going on with the quarterbacks. Maybe Slater’s fate is somehow tied to this, and there will be a veteran aboard. That was just weird, the Andrew Walter era. When Peter King started Tweeting that the AJ Feeley trade “made too much sense” I took it literally, and figured that Tweet killed any possibility of it happening. Not that I think any of it matters a damn when it’s all riding on Tom Brady. Good for Brian Hoyer through.
  • I’m feeling pretty good about that defensive line group, especially if you add Derrick Burgess and Tully Banta-Cain to the ends. I like the depth they’ve gained with the addition of Brace and Pryor.
  • Fan favorite Terrence Nunn was let go, even though the Pats kept six receivers. This is such a touchy area. None of us can say we’re sure about Lewis or Galloway. The positive is Edelman, who was off to a nice start as a slot guy until he got banged up. Further, I’d like to again vouch for Sam Aiken as a receiver.
  • Superhero Ray Ventrone also was relived of his duties.

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