Pats Preseason: Offense Edition

Buck Showalter

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I came into this week thinking the Patriots would only keep 4 WR's and last night did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. I just don't see Harry having enough value to have him on the roster if he plays no special teams. Wilkerson showed me enough promise offensively to warrant himself being on the roster.
Red - you see Harry getting cut?

And as for Cam being "fine"...I also disagree. He's a great, warm personality to have around....he's just not any good any longer.
 

Buck Showalter

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I do. I don't think he's good enough to keep on the roster if he has no ST value. Agholor/Bourne/Meyers/Wilkerson with 4 TEs and 5 RBs is IMO the right mix for how they want to play the game.
Wow...

Doesn't he have "some" value though? I mean - he was a 1st round pick just two years ago and only 23 years old.

Can't we package a draft pick and trade for an Andy Isabella (which is what I saw in one blurb a week or so ago)?
 

RedOctober3829

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Wow...

Doesn't he have "some" value though? I mean - he was a 1st round pick just two years ago and only 23 years old.

Can't we package a draft pick and trade for an Andy Isabella (which is what I saw in one blurb a week or so ago)?
He better show more in the team drills in practice and in the games. All the noise about him has been winning battles in 1-on-1's which isn't real football. He was out there a ton last night and only had 1 target. That's a problem.
 

Cellar-Door

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I came into this week thinking the Patriots would only keep 4 WR's and last night did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. I just don't see Harry having enough value to have him on the roster if he plays no special teams. Wilkerson showed me enough promise offensively to warrant himself being on the roster.
I think Wilkerson isn't gonna make it. The constant from basically every camp report was "and a drop by Wilkerson", maybe he makes it as a ST guy, but I feel like the easiest way to lose a bubble fight as a WR is show you can't be trusted to make the catch on a good throw.
 

RedOctober3829

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I think Wilkerson isn't gonna make it. The constant from basically every camp report was "and a drop by Wilkerson", maybe he makes it as a ST guy, but I feel like the easiest way to lose a bubble fight as a WR is show you can't be trusted to make the catch on a good throw.
He has value as a jack of all trades kind of player similar to what Cordarrelle Patterson was for this team. ST contributor, speed guy to give the ball to on end arounds and other gadget plays, and some play at WR. Really they have 5 WRs if you count the 4 I mentioned plus Hunter Henry.
 

Soxy

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I think Wilkerson isn't gonna make it. The constant from basically every camp report was "and a drop by Wilkerson", maybe he makes it as a ST guy, but I feel like the easiest way to lose a bubble fight as a WR is show you can't be trusted to make the catch on a good throw.
I was quite sanguine on Wilkerson's chances before N'keal started consistently looking like a 1st rd pick in practice for the first time in his life. Not really sure what to make of him now.

Wilkerson looked the part last night, but he absolutely needed to bring in that deep ball from Mac down the left sideline for a TD. Would have felt a lot better about him if he had made that play. Not going to bury him completely over one play, but if that continues happening in preseason games, he becomes a tougher sell (unless they just love his ST potential, but they already have a bunch of those guys).
 

IdiotKicker

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I’m going with Michel as a surprise cut. Harris, White, Stevenson, Taylor, Bolden as the RBs. We know Michel isn’t going to be back next year already. The depth is nice, but he doesn’t have any one skill that is better than the top skill from each of the other backs. Would be a $1.8M cap hit I believe.
 

lexrageorge

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I’m going with Michel as a surprise cut. Harris, White, Stevenson, Taylor, Bolden as the RBs. We know Michel isn’t going to be back next year already. The depth is nice, but he doesn’t have any one skill that is better than the top skill from each of the other backs. Would be a $1.8M cap hit I believe.
I get the feeling that Wilkerson, Harry, Michel, Taylor, Bolden, Jakob Johnson and LaCosse are battling for 4 roster spots between them, 5 max. The fact that Wilkerson has gone all out to win a position on special teams probably does give him an edge over the field.

As for Harry, I do believe Belichick values practice performance in addition to preseason game performance; otherwise, he would have been traded already. But he will need to show something during the upcoming practices against the Eagles and again on Thursday night, as the rope is getting shorter for him.
 

Soxy

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I think Bolden would make way more sense to cut than Sony. Less of a dead cap hit and actually would save more money on the cap than if they jettisoned Michel. I figured Rhamondre wouldn't have much of a role on this team in 2021, but if he does I think he's more likely to take Bolden's spot than Michel's. Deep RB depth, play some ST.

If they cut Sony, that RB depth suddenly doesn't look as good. If Damien Harris were to get injured, they would be counting a lot on a couple unproven young guys in JJ Taylor and Stevenson. Maybe they could handle it, but that would be risky. I know they both looked good last night, but I'm not ready to go all-in with either of those guys quite yet.
 

BigSoxFan

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I think Bolden would make way more sense to cut than Sony. Less of a dead cap hit and actually would save more money on the cap than if they jettisoned Michel. I figured Rhamondre wouldn't have much of a role on this team in 2021, but if he does I think he's more likely to take Bolden's spot than Michel's. Deep RB depth, play some ST.

If they cut Sony, that RB depth suddenly doesn't look as good. If Damien Harris were to get injured, they would be counting a lot on a couple unproven young guys in JJ Taylor and Stevenson. Maybe they could handle it, but that would be risky. I know they both looked good last night, but I'm not ready to go all-in with either of those guys quite yet.
Yeah. The strength of this team is going to be the running game so I don’t want the team to reduce that strength. Bolden is a nice ST player but I would much rather keep Michel, if that’s the decision. And certainly Michel over Harry, who is basically useless at this point.
 

Soxy

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Yeah. The strength of this team is going to be the running game so I don’t want the team to reduce that strength. Bolden is a nice ST player but I would much rather keep Michel, if that’s the decision. And certainly Michel over Harry, who is basically useless at this point.
When they drafted Stevenson, I thought maybe he's the guy to take the Burkhead role, if you will, eventually. Be the 3rd RB to rotate in for carries, catch some passes out of the backfield, play some teams. I just didn't think they'd give it to him right off the bat as a rookie. Seemed like Bolden was a safer bet to be able to handle that kind of role in 2021.

If a Stevenson/Taylor combo is good enough to handle that Burkhead role now, Bolden seems pretty expendable to me. I know he's a BB binkie, but that usually doesn't stop him from making the correct decision, if it comes to that.
 

Soxy

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Bolden is a core STer. I’d be pretty surprised if he got cut. I’d be less surprised if .Michel gets traded to, say, Houston.
For what, a 6th or 7th round pick? What trade value does he actually have? This is the final year of his contract, he possibly has an arthritic knee, and he missed about half of last season with injuries. When he did play, it was probably the closest he's looked to the explosive player he was at Georgia, so that's good. The runs he had in that Vegas game was what you hoped to see when he was their 1st round pick.

I just have a hard time envisioning anyone trading anything of real value for this guy. I also think he could be a very productive and important player for the Patriots this season (I'm envisioning something like a 60/40-ish split in carries between Harris and Michel). I don't really understand why people are in such a hurry to get rid of him. Who is replacing him as the #2 back? I'd just have him play out his contract and probably end up letting him walk at the end of the season.

I definitely would not keep Brandon Bolden on this team over Sony Michel because of special teams. Mainly because Harris and Michel are the only two guys on the roster I trust to be the lead back running the ball. Maybe others disagree, but I don't want to sacrifice that depth for some blocking and tackling in the kicking game. Somebody else can do that. Seemed to work out fine in 2018 when Bolden wasn't here and Sony was.
 

Jungleland

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I’d be upset if Michel doesn’t make the team at this point. He gets a deserved amount of flak for stinking up the joint the year he was supposed to be Brady’s Terrell Davis, but he ran extremely well after returning from injury last season and looked like that version of himself on Thursday. I’m a huge Harris fan and excited by what Stevenson looked like against scrubs in his debut, but Sony looks like a legitimately useful player at a spot where BB has valued depth before.

I look at lexrageorge’s list and while I could see every one of those guys having value on this year’s team, I can’t see any of their contributions being more likely to provide good returns on roster spot investment than Michel. I look at him as a near lock to get significant carries at a good YPC provided he’s healthy.

If Thursday were the decision maker I can’t see both Harry and Wilkerson making the team.
 
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For what, a 6th or 7th round pick? What trade value does he actually have? This is the final year of his contract, he possibly has an arthritic knee, and he missed about half of last season with injuries. When he did play, it was probably the closest he's looked to the explosive player he was at Georgia, so that's good. The runs he had in that Vegas game was what you hoped to see when he was their 1st round pick.

I just have a hard time envisioning anyone trading anything of real value for this guy. I also think he could be a very productive and important player for the Patriots this season (I'm envisioning something like a 60/40-ish split in carries between Harris and Michel). I don't really understand why people are in such a hurry to get rid of him. Who is replacing him as the #2 back? I'd just have him play out his contract and probably end up letting him walk at the end of the season.

I definitely would not keep Brandon Bolden on this team over Sony Michel because of special teams. Mainly because Harris and Michel are the only two guys on the roster I trust to be the lead back running the ball. Maybe others disagree, but I don't want to sacrifice that depth for some blocking and tackling in the kicking game. Somebody else can do that. Seemed to work out fine in 2018 when Bolden wasn't here and Sony was.
I don’t disagree with ANY of this. I was just making the point that I really don’t see BB cutting Bolden.
 

pedroia'sboys

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I’m going with Michel as a surprise cut. Harris, White, Stevenson, Taylor, Bolden as the RBs. We know Michel isn’t going to be back next year already. The depth is nice, but he doesn’t have any one skill that is better than the top skill from each of the other backs. Would be a $1.8M cap hit I believe.
There is not a shot in hell Michel gets cut. By all accounts he's looked like the most explosive RB in camp.
 

lexrageorge

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I don’t disagree with ANY of this. I was just making the point that I really don’t see BB cutting Bolden.
Bolden is a pretty limited player other than his special teams contributions, and he will be 32 before the season is out, an age where even good running backs fall off a total cliff. If a Wilkerson can give them a decent percentage of what Bolden can do on ST, and can also be part of the WR rotation where extra depth will certainly be helpful, Bolden is likely to be the odd man out on cutdown day. As noted above, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he returns after either cutdown day or Week 1.
 

jsinger121

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Bolden is a pretty limited player other than his special teams contributions, and he will be 32 before the season is out, an age where even good running backs fall off a total cliff. If a Wilkerson can give them a decent percentage of what Bolden can do on ST, and can also be part of the WR rotation where extra depth will certainly be helpful, Bolden is likely to be the odd man out on cutdown day. As noted above, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he returns after either cutdown day or Week 1.
Let’s not forget that Bolden also opted out of the 2020 season. He hasn’t played football in over a year. He’s pretty expendable to me. He is definitely someone I would cut as they can get similar special teams contributions from someone else for a fraction of the cost while keeping a better running back.
 

Ferm Sheller

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I think it's more likely than not that Bolden doesn't make the team for many of the reasons others have suggested -- age, limited role, they don't need the depth at his "true" position, hasn't played since 2019. They've cut him a couple of times before and even let him walk to another team. He's training camp depth, I believe.

EDIT: And speaking of special teams guys, what's Brandon King's status? Did he play the other night?
 
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RedOctober3829

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Let’s not forget that Bolden also opted out of the 2020 season. He hasn’t played football in over a year. He’s pretty expendable to me. He is definitely someone I would cut as they can get similar special teams contributions from someone else for a fraction of the cost while keeping a better running back.
They have Slater/Bethel/Davis as ST-only non-specialist type players. 4 would be the absolute limit and I think Wilkerson would have the ability to provide more offensive value than Bolden.
 

lexrageorge

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Can anyone clarify how the practice squad rules will work this year? Specifically.... I know that 4 practice squad players can be protected so that they cannot be signed by another team. But does a player on the current roster still have to clear waivers before they can be signed to the practice squad? Or can 4 such players be protected?

Could have some impact for Stevenson or Wilkerson, at least at the start of the season.
 

DJnVa

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Reading some Twitter reports today, Jones faded a bit later in practice but hit Harry for a TD to end it.

Harry apparently got upset with Cam not looking his way on a play.
 

SMU_Sox

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Harris, Sony, and Taylor all ran well.

Taylor had the move of the night with his insane spin move.

And yet, In going to have sexy dreams tonight about Stevenson.
I was going to bring it up in the Stevenson thread but it’s more preseason offense. 2 things. 1) Stevenson and Taylor look like they are both ready to play a role, and 2) I am off the trade Sony bandwagon. I don’t know if they can carry 6 guys: Harris, Michel, White, Stevenson, JJT, and Bolden but as good as Bolden is on ST Stevenson is playing there and they might not have the space to justify keeping him.

As I post this Stevenson fumbles but aside from that black mark he had a good night.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Agree on Sony. I couldn't believe the catch and run plays he turned in. He looked like a younger James White.

I liked what I saw out of Bourne and Meyers too. If the running game lives up to the hype, the play action yards will be there to be had.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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Sony looks like a completely different player this year... more like what we (I ) were (was) led to believe he'd be like coming out of UGA. Contract year Sony?
 

RorschachsMask

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Sony looks like a completely different player this year... more like what we (I ) were (was) led to believe he'd be like coming out of UGA. Contract year Sony?
He averaged 5.7 yards a rush last season too, but he looks like a different guy catching the ball out of the backfield.
 

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normstalls

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Caveat - Only watched highlights, but JJ has to make the team. Looked really quick and swifty, loved what I saw.
 

BaseballJones

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I made the case in the game thread but to me it's easy for the RBs. Keep them all but Bolden. I like Bolden, and BB does too, but they can get quality special teams play out of others, and every other RB they have is better at the RB job than Bolden, most of them are cheaper, and they're all significantly younger. There's just very little case at this point to keeping Bolden.
 

lexrageorge

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Bolden is expendable. He is 32, saves $1.4M on the cap if cut, and the team has good depth on the special teams squad anyway, especially with Wilkerson emerging. White, Harris, Stevenson are locks, and at least one of Michel and Taylor will make it if not both, possibly making FB Jakob Johnson the odd man out (although he does contribute on ST as well).
 

ZMart100

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Taylor would be the first cut on the list for me. I like what he does but I think there's a good chance he can get to the practice squad. Even in the off chance someone claims him, I think his skills are most easily replaceable.
 

BaseballJones

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Taylor would be the first cut on the list for me. I like what he does but I think there's a good chance he can get to the practice squad. Even in the off chance someone claims him, I think his skills are most easily replaceable.
Why would you cut him instead of Bolden? What does Bolden do that can't be easily replaced on the team, while saving more money at the same time - money that could come in handy down the road?
 

SMU_Sox

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Taylor would be the first cut on the list for me. I like what he does but I think there's a good chance he can get to the practice squad. Even in the off chance someone claims him, I think his skills are most easily replaceable.
If Dodge replaces Bolden on ST (the new nickname for Rhamondre Stevenson, thanks Brand Name) then I would argue Bolden is the most replaceable back especially now that Sony is showing you he can catch. They don’t have a faster outside back and even though his top speed is only a 4.61 he plays faster than that and is a better change of pace outside runner.
 

lexrageorge

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Why would you cut him instead of Bolden? What does Bolden do that can't be easily replaced on the team, while saving more money at the same time - money that could come in handy down the road?
I'm almost certain Bolden will be cut, although he could end part of the shadow roster and compete for the Ross Ventrone Award this season.

The issue is that cutting Bolden still leaves them with 5 running backs and a fullback. Realistically, only 4 of them are going to get Sunday snaps. If Bill thinks they can sneak Taylor onto the practice squad, it's conceivable he ends up on the cut list. They could try the same with Johnson (my strong preference because I'm a fan of Taylor), but sometimes Bill surprises us when it comes to bottom end of the roster.