Patriots: Comings and Goings

The New England Patriots made a number of roster moves today, releasing a linebacker, placing a DB on injured reserve and signing two old friends back to the team. As reported last week, the Patriots added playmaker Andre Davis to the roster while saying goodbye to special teams contributor Wesly Mallard, again. Get inside for all the changes, plus a look at what the teams record means around the division.

Patriots: Comings and Goings
Jon Scott, Patriots Insider


--Safety Guss Scott was placed on injured reserve today, ending his season. Scott was injured in 2004 at the end of preseason missing all of his rookie season. His loss, combined with the loss of Rodney Harrison, means that the Patriots will need to rely on rookie draft pick James Sanders and free agent Arturo Freeman.

--LB and special teams contributor Wesly Mallard was released to make room on the roster to add one of the teams two additions.

--DB Hank Poteat returned to the team. Poteat, a former street free agent, was with the team during their playoff run last season. He remained on the roster with New England during the offseason, but was part of the roster cut down to the group of 65 on August 30, 2005. Poteat was in town last week for a workout.

"Hank was with us last year, and in training camp, and has been a productive player for us," Belichick said. "Where we are with the cornerback situation now, we felt like we could use a little more depth there."

Belichick complimented Poteat, and explained that the team would have kept him if the roster limit allowed. "Hanks a smart player, he works hard, he's very diligent he's a tough kid. He puts a lot into the game. I have a lot of respect for him."

--WR Andre Davis returns to the team. Reported here in last week's Rumor mill, Davis who drew interest from other teams in the league including the Green Bay Packers, was resigned by the team today. Davis has the size and the speed the Patriots desire. They made a trade with the Cleveland Browns before the season in order to obtain another weapon for Tom Brady, but Davis' foot made put his roster spot in jeopardy.

The Patriots continued to follow Davis during his recovery period, eventually adding him to the roster once enough spots were available.


The Patriots head into the bye week tied for the AFC East lead with the Buffalo Bills at 3-3. They could find themselves in unfamiliar territory when they return should the Bills win next Sunday, having to play a division opponent with a better record in week eight.

The Patriots have had their struggles in the 2005 season, which has been well documented. Injuries, personnel changes, and a brutal schedule have all been factors. Their division opponents have had their fair share of struggles as well. The Jets have lost their number one and number two quarterbacks, along with their starting center for the season. The Bills have made a quarterback change to adjust for poor play by their quarterback of the future. The Dolphins have had their own struggles at the quarterback position. The AFC is a wide-open division, which has the Patriots thankful for their week seven bye.

Their 3-3 record has history on the Patriots side.

In 2001 the team started 3-3 before dropping their next game to fall to 3-4. They turned around the season to land their second trip to the Superbowl and win an improbable victory over the St. Louis Rams.

In 2002 they began 3-3 before heading into a week seven bye. After the bye the lost to Denver dropping to 3-4 for the second year in a row. At that point they won six of their last nine games to finish at 9-7. They lost out on a wildcard spot when the Jets won their final game placing them in a tiebreaker, which landed Cleveland in the playoffs ahead of both the Dolphins and the Patriots who all ended with a 9-7 record.

If the Patriots are to return to the playoffs for a chance to defend their Super Bowl title, they will have to improve on their 9-7 record. The Buffalo Bills have new life with backup quarterback, ironically who joined the Bills from Cleveland where he spent time backing up former first round QB Tim Couch. Holcomb contributes some of his success from learning under fire with the Browns, and as time he spent backing up Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

Buffalo's defense, in addition to Holcomb's play, has the Bills on track to take the lead in the AFC East during the Patriots bye week. The Bills face an Oakland Raiders team devoid of their playmaker Randy Moss. Oakland's offense appears to be in a freefall, which could lead to an ugly outing against an aggressive Buffalo defense. A Buffalo win means the Patriots will have an uphill climb to try to claim the Division title in 2005.

More new and notes about Holcomb, the Jets and the Dolphins can be found in this week's AFC East report.

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