Assuming the Patriots release players sooner rather than later, bank on a number of expected cuts to come as soon as Tuesday. Some of the names in danger may surprise you.
Safe: Tom Brady, Matt Cassel,
On The Bubble: Matt Gutierrez, Vinny Testaverde
Thoughts: Gutierrez hasn't had an outstanding camp, although he's shown signs of promise. If he is released to try to sneak him onto the practice squad, he has other suitors ready and waiting to make him an offer. It's likely Testaverde wins the coin flip between these two, but the front office may not be willing to take a chance on losing Gutierrez and could conceivably come to an arrangement with Testaverde as they did last season.
Safe: Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Heath Evans, Sammy Morris
On The Bubble: Quinton Smith
IR: Justise Hairston
Thoughts: This unit is most likely the easiest to predict. Each of the four backs on the safe list have done all that is required to make the final cut. FB/TE Garrett Mills may have figured into the mix if Evans had struggled during the preseason. Evans shined, putting Mills' versatility in jeapordy. Quinton Smith has practice squad eligibility, so he's likely headed there.
Safe: Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker,
On The Bubble: Jabar Gaffney, Kelley Washington, Reche Caldwell
In Danger: Kelvin Kight, Bam Childress Chris Dunlap, C.J. Jones
PUP: Troy Brown, Chad Jackson
Thoughts: This has to be the toughest call. Gaffney, Washington and Caldwell have all done well at various points throughout camp. Any or all of them may remain on the roster. Kight and Childress will be the odd men out, there just isn't enough room to keep them all. Troy Brown and Chad Jackson will probably start the season on the reserve/PUP list. Those moves could be made early to add some time for the players on the bubble.
Safe: Kyle Brady, Ben Watson
On The Bubble: Marcellus Rivers, Garrett Mills
In Danger: Brian Jones
PUP: David Thomas
Thoughts: With Kyle Brady nursing an injury, Marcellus Rivers gets the nod over Garrett Mills. If BRady is healthy, Mills may be the one to stick. Either way, Brian Jones looks to be in danger. David Thomas' foot injury may cause the team to put him on reserve/PUP for the first part of the season
Safe: Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Nick Kaczur,
On The Bubble: Ryan O'Callaghan, Russ Hochstein, Billy Yates, Wesley Britt
In Danger: Gene Mruczkowski, Clint Oldenburg, Corey Hilliard, Mike Elgin
Thoughts: The starting five have come into focus with no major upsets from training camp. Ryan O'Callaghan and Wesley Britt continue to develop as decent to solid backups and may push for starting roles down the road. Russ Hochstein's versatility along with Billy Yates will help them stick through the cuts. The young draft picks have a long way to go before they can make the starting lineup. They're all candidates for the practice squad.
Safe: Rodney Harrison, James Sanders, Eugene Wilson, Brandon Meriweather,
On The Bubble: Mel Mitchell
In Danger: Rashad Baker
Thoughts: Top four are fairly well set. Mel Mitchell may make the cut depending upon the team's interest in using his spot for another special teams ace. Randall Gay's ability to also play safety may figure into the reasoning. Rashad Baker has been missing since the beginning of training camp and is a candidate for IR or release.
Safe: Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Randall Gay
On The Bubble: Willie Andrews, Dante Wesley, Tory James
In Danger: Larry Anam Mike Richardson
PUP/IR: Eddie Jackson / Chad Scott
Thoughts: Andrews is with the DB's because he spent a fair amount of time playing cover corner in camp. If he makes the cut ( a reasonable expectation) then there is little room for either Tory James or Dante Wesley. Wesley would appear to have an upper hand as a special teams player, but James' ability to be a solid reserve at corner may be more important. Eddie Jackson will likely start the season on PUP. Mike Richardson may move to IR depending on the injury he sustained against the Panthers. Larry Anam is a longshot
Safe: Adalius Thomas, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Rosevelt Colvin
On The Bubble: Junior Seau, Pierre Woods, Oscar Lua, Justin Rogers, Eric Alexander, Larry Izzo
In Danger: Chad Brown / Corey Mays
PUP / IR:
Thoughts: The starting four are set. Seau is an almost lock. Izzo and Alexander are special teams aces so they're most likely safe. This leaves a tough decision to choose between the veterans and the rookies. Corey Mays may lose out to rookie Justin Rogers and Oscar Lua. Chad Brown's experience may not be enough to keep him in Foxboro.
Safe: Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green, Mike Wright
On The Bubble: Le Kevin Smith, Kareem Brown, Rashad Moore
In Danger: Santonio Thomas, Zach West
Thoughts: The top three are set with Seymour, Warren and Wilfork. Green is almost as secure along with perennial backup Mike Wright. Depending on how well Smith performs, or the extent of injuries to those already listed, Rashad Moore may remain on the roster. Unfortunately for Santonio Thomas he may be out of time. West is a contender for a practice squad spot.
(All safe now after Josh Miller and Tom Malone were released)
KICKER: Stephen Gostkowski
LONG SNAPPER: Loni Paxton
PUNTER: Danny Baugher
Project Practice Squad:
M. Richardson, M. Gutierrez, C. Dunlap, M. Elgin, Z. West, C. Mays, C. Oldenburg, G. Mills
For the Final 53 Projection check the Insider's Lounge