BOSTON (CBS) Preseason game number two for the New England Patriots finds them taking on a team that was 10-6 a year ago: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Head coach Bill Belichick says Tampa Bay approaches the game differently than their first preseason opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s better news for the Bucs than it is for the Patriots, who beat the Jags, 47-12.
Roster spots will be won or lost over the next week when the Patriots face the Buccaneers Thursday night and the Detroit Lions one week from Saturday (August 27).
If there is one certainty when it comes to the final Patriots roster, it is that it won’t be the final Patriots roster. Because football games come to a halt when the whistle blows, the shifting of personnel is greater than any other sport. Today’s NFL is highly specialized with down and distance determining on-field personnel.
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So it only stands to reason that said personnel will be a shifting, morphing entity. That’s why NFL teams have practice squads. That is why the 53 man roster for the season opener on Monday, September 12 may not be the same 53 man roster on Sunday, September 18.
That won’t be the case for every position. Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett will be the three quarterbacks for the season, barring injury, of course.
There is also the possibility of a trade or big-name release before the pigskin is in the air for real. That certainly would not be unheard of from Belichick (remember the release of Lawyer Milloy?).
With the number of defensive backs in camp, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Patriots were looking to ship two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather out of town. He has been less than impressive in training camp and some team should bite on taking him off of Belichick’s hands for some high draft picks, perhaps even a number one.
The Big Bang Clock could be ticking for Meriweather if he does not pick things up.