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Patriots Cuts: Branch, Hoyer, Koppen Cut, Demps Placed On IR

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Patriots running back Jeff Demps. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Patriots running back Jeff Demps. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) - The final cut day of the preseason is finally here and there are some well-known names on the list.

9:35p.m.: The Patriots have officially announced that they cut 22 players and placed rookie RB Jeff Demps on injured reserve.

12 Veterans Cut: WR Deion Branch, S Sergio Brown, DL Marcus Harrison, WR Jesse Holley, QB Brian Hoyer, S James Ihedigbo, OL Matt Kopa, C Dan Koppen, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Derrick Martin, LB Jeff Tarpinian and S Malcolm Williams.

4 First Year Players Cut: FB Eric Kettani, DL Aaron Lavarias, TE Alex Silvestro and WR Kerry Taylor.

1 2012 Draft Pick: WR Jeremy Ebert

5 Rookie Free Agents: OL Derek Dennis, TE Tyler Urban, OL Dustin Waldron, OL Jeremiah Warren and OL Darrion Weems.

4:49 p.m.: The Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard reports that the Pats have indeed released safety Sergio Brown.

4:20 p.m.: ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reports that Jesse Holley, Sergio Brown, Tyler Urban and Marcus Harrison were all absent from practice today, potentially due to being cut. We expect more to come out this afternoon, of course.

3:04 p.m.: We haven’t heard of any cuts in the past 45 minutes, but Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald did tweet this:

“Source close to Deion Branch says the receiver still holds hope of a return to Foxboro.”

Interesting …

2:15 p.m.: The names of some lesser-name players are rolling in, as reports have the Patriots cutting Aaron Lavarias and Derrick Martin.

2:08 p.m.: Deion Branch tweeted the following: “Truly thankful for all the support from everybody. I Love You guys #LovePeaceandHappiness”

2:07 p.m.: A Gronkowski has been cut in the NFL, but fear not, it’s not Rob Gronkowski. His brother Dan has been cut by Cleveland, according to Pro Football Talk.

1:30 p.m.: According to Shalise Manza Young the Pats have cut wide receiver Deion Branch.

1:15 p.m.: Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe adds that Dan Koppen has been cut as well. This may mean Brian Waters is due for a return soon, but that is just pure speculation (as it has been all preseason).

1:14 p.m.: Here’s a shocker: Adam Caplan is reporting that the Patriots have cut backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.

This means the Patriots are happy going into the season with Ryan Mallett as their #2 quarterback.

1:05 p.m.: Judging by safety James Ihedigbo’s tweet, and his lack of playing time during the preseason, it looks as though the UMass alum will be looking for a new team.

Ihedigbo was signed by the Patriots last offseason after spending a year with the New York Jets.

12:10 p.m.: The afternoon has hit, and there is absolutely nothing going on by way of Patriots cuts.

If you’re getting restless, so are the Patriots beat writers. The Pats held a media availability in their locker room a short time ago (we’ll have that coming shortly) and will actually practice this afternoon at 4pm. This will be the final chance for those bubble players to state their case to Bill Belichick and his staff on why they should make the team.

As for some notable cuts around the NFL, former Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton has been let go by the Miami Dolphins.

8:00 a.m.: The final cut day of the preseason is finally here, and it promises for a day of difficult decisions for Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ coaching staff.

With an overload at certain positions (wide receiver, running back, both lines), Belichick will have to make some cuts he doesn’t want to make, trimming the roster from 75 to 53.

Final cuts aren’t officially due until 9 p.m., so we don’t know exactly when or how often the news will flow out over the course of today. However, check back here throughout the day, as we’ll have up-to-the-minute news on all the cuts.

Belichick shed some light on the methodology behind trimming the roster. It was rather extensive, but it makes for an interesting read:

I think when you get to a certain point of your roster, you look at whatever the number is – let’s call it 46 – those are the guys that are going to go to the game; those are the guys that are going to play. Probably in that group you have a couple players that may be injured, so to start the season maybe they wouldn’t be able to play, but eventually you think they will be healthy and they will be able to play. Those are the guys that are going to really play. So let’s call it maybe 50 players, I don’t know, whatever the number is; it’s somewhere over 46 and less than 53, whatever that number is. And then you have basically depth and insurance for your team. So you can have a player on your team that is on the 53-man roster, but he’s not going to play in the game until he can get to the 46 and then what are the criteria that would get him onto the 46-man roster? Is it special teams? Is it an injury? Is it the development of him because he’s just inexperienced and you feel like he’ll eventually be able to grow into that role? Then you also have the eight players on the practice squad, whoever they are, whether they’re from this roster or maybe they could come from another roster like Nick McDonald and Matt Kopa did last year. We’ve seen that before with other players. Those players are also depth because they’re practicing with you and they go to your meetings every week. You’ve seen them be activated as late as Saturday afternoon for a Sunday game. Until those guys actually get to the game, they’re really depth. It comes down to a question of where you want to carry your depth, in terms of what it costs: what it costs financially, what it costs in terms of opportunity. If you keep a person for depth here, then does that leave you short somewhere else? Well, of course it does and which players can you control? You can control ones that are on the 53. You can control the practice squad players to some degree but not totally. Then there are other players that are off the roster that you don’t really have any control over, but we all know that there are going to be players not on a team who are going to play football this year for us or somebody else. It’s a combination of all those things. They’re interrelated; it’s not just about one position. I don’t think we would make too many decisions just based on, ‘Well, this is the way it has to be at this spot.’ It’s all interrelated; who are the players, what are the other needs on the team, what are the other circumstances and so forth? I’d say there’s no real set formula to that. I can’t imagine that we would have four quarterbacks on the roster. I think when that happened in 2000, it was kind of a unique situation where we had really two third quarterbacks if you will – very different between [Tom] Brady and [Michael] Bishop. One of them could have been on the practice squad. I don’t think Bishop was practice squad eligible, I can’t remember. But in any case, we could have carried one of those guys on the practice squad. Again, when you have 53 players and you’re going to have an inactive group anyway, it really doesn’t matter whether the guy is on the practice squad or on the 53-man roster; if he’s inactive, he’s not going to play in the game. Then the question is, as an organization, which players do you want to protect? You can protect the ones on the 53; to some degree, you can’t protect the ones on the practice squad. So in that particular case, that’s why we didn’t put Brady on the practice squad because we wanted to make sure that we had him, not so much for that year, but for the following year. Again, it’s another long answer but those are all the considerations. They apply to every position, they really apply to every player after you get past the first whatever that number is, guys that you know you’re going to the game with, you know they’re going to play for you, you know that you want not only on the roster, but at the game. Then it’s the rest of the group that you have. There are lot of other considerations that come into play. We’d like to keep more than 53; we can keep 61 when you add the practice squad but there are other players that we’d like to keep working with that we just aren’t going to be able to do that. We’ll have to try to decide what’s the best combination; what do we do that’s best for the team. Of course, that will include, at least in conversation – I don’t know whether it will actually happen, but at least in conversation that will include players that aren’t on our team right now that come from other sources one way or another. Sorry to go on and on.

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