The Patriots are down in Tampa Bay practicing with the Buccaneers before the two teams battle in the third preseason game of the season.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald spoke with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich about Deion Branch, Jonathan Fanene getting released, what we’ll see Friday night and Maurice Jones-Drew.

There’s nobody Tom Brady trusts more than Deion Branch and in Monday night’s preseason games Branch showed he still has it when he hooked up with Brian Hoyer on a third-and-13 for 17 yards on a perfectly timed in route. With this team’s wealth at receiver it looks as though Branch has secured his spot.

“They weren’t going to blow this thing up and get a bunch of unknowns, they wanted to make sure that Brady was comfortable and who better to have on the outside then the guy he fought to keep around six years ago.”

Does Howe think that the team will keep Branch, Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney or will there be an odd man out?

“It’s still probably Stallworth unless on of these guys gets injured and they just decide IR them or just release them out right. You can’t keep all three, unless like I said there’s an injury.”

“You got to start building the team in other areas. All three of those guys have played well enough to deserve a spot on this roster it just doesn’t mean they have the room for them on the roster.”

The Patriots released defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene after picking him up early in free agency and giving him a $3.85 million signing bonus. A knee injury has limited Fanene and kept him out of the first two preseason games.

According to a report by Ross Tucker of the NFL Network, that injury was a pre-existing condition, and the Patriots cut Fanene under “failure to disclose physical condition.”

Could the Pats be looking to recoup that money and will it hurt the way free agents view the team?

“This could turn into a huge battle if they really try to recoup that money because it’s very hard to convince me on one side that the Patriots gave him a $3.85 million signing bonus without really checking into his knees.”

Plus what will we see out of this team on Friday night in Tampa?


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