Patriots Bubble Watch

The toughest part of the year for players is here -- roster cut time. Veterans and rookies know that their time at camp is coming to an end. Some of them will move on, many more will not. Patriots Insider takes a look at some names that are on the outside looking in as cuts approach.

Bubble Watch

Sorting out which players from the 80 in camp who will make the final roster is usually an exercise that may be interesting to fans, but have serious ramifications for players and the media who cover them. No one enjoys roster cuts, but they're a part of the system. Each team must reduce their roster to 75 by the end of the week and down to 53 for the season opener.
Here's a list of fifteen players on the Patriots current roster who are facing the distinct possibility of having to move on. The team needs to cut down the roster by five

OFFENSE:

Wide Receiver: Rod Owens, Buddy Farnham
With 10 players fighting for roles at wideout, this will be one area where the Patriots have to let people go. Typically running with 5 or 6 wideouts, means guys like Buddy Farnham, Rod Owens, Darnell Jenkins are on the outside looking in.

Running Back: Thomas Clayton, Chris Taylor
Expect the Patriots to return with the same group of backs they had last season. Unless an unexpected trade happens, or the playing time of Laurence Maroney is an indication of his future, Maroney, Morris and Fred Taylor should carry the load while Kevin Faulk is the third down back. This leaves just one spot for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Clayton or Chris Taylor, with Green-Ellis the most likely to stay.

Tight End: Carson Butler, Rob Meyers
The Patriots drafted well in 2010 for help at the tight end position. Both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez should be significant contributors in 2010. Free agent pickup Alge Crumpler may have solidified his spot with an amazing sideline snare during the preseason. That leaves Meyers and Butler on the outside looking in. Both should be practice squad candidates.

Offensive Line: Ted Larsen, Thomas Welch, Eric Ghiaciuc
With the injury to Nick Kaczur and he holdout of Logan Mankins, bodies are at a premium on the line. Versatile bodies are especially important.

DEFENSE:

Defensive Line: Kyle Love
The Patriots defensive line has shown some issues holding up against the run. With the loss of Ty Warren for the year, it will be up to a combination of linemen to get the job done, including last year's 2nd round pick Ron Brace and free agent pickup Gerard Warren.

Linebackers: Dane Fletcher, Thomas Williams
Special teams is key for the Patriots linebackers who are on the bubble. With starters (or former starters) taking up bigger roles there, it will be tough for fringe players to make the final cut.

Defensive Backs: Terrence Johnson, Sergio Brown, Ross Ventrone, Josh Barrett
Expect stiff competition to knock out some of these guys. With no more than 8 players expected to stick in the secondary, the team has to chop the group in half from the 16 on the roster now. Some are practice squad eligible. Willingham will be a tough cut. The team may release him early to give him a chance to land on another roster. Injuries to starters will impact the final group.

Roster cuts to 75 are due this week.

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