The players released today contained a couple of mild surprises in linebacker Freddie Roach and cornerback Hank Poteat. Others on the list included: wide receivers, Rich Musinski and Keron Henry as well as offensive linemen Brian Barthelmes and Nick Steitz.
|William & Mary|
Roach's Injury Hampered His Chances
Freddi Roach felt the typical rookie struggle with the transition to the pro level. The team's system is different, the playbook is different, and the atmosphere is different. It was a lot for the young Alabama linebacker to handle.
"It's totally different," Roach said after practice earlier in camp. "It's just like starting over with a clean slate. You just try doing everything you can to learn what's going on."
Roach did get some help from the veterans, and he appreciated it. "They're all looking out for me," he said. Although Roach sought extra help the competiton for roster spots was tough.
Roach showed promise early in camp yet was limited due to injury. His lack of practice time allowed other players an opportunity to secure their position for this first round of cuts.
"I think we have players ahead of him at his position," Belichick explained of the decision to release Roach. "Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to participate in everything for some of the last couple of weeks, practices and games. Again, I don't look at it as a case of him falling behind as just other people getting more of an opportunity to move ahead."
Even with the release of Roach, the Patriots have 14 linebackers on the roster -- a number likely to shrink to around 10.
|LB Freddie Roach and Barry Gardner put in extra work after practice with an assistant coach at Patriots training camp in Foxboro, MA August 8, 2006 (Photo: Kevin Saleeba)|
Poteat A Surprise Cut
Another mild surprise release was cornerback Hank Poteat. Poteat first joined New England in the 2004 postseason, was waived and then resigned midseason in 2005 -- around the time of Tedy Bruschi's return. His versatility as a defender and a kick returner were key factors in the team's decision to resign him this past offseason.
When asked about his goals in camp, Poteat explained that he was just thankful to have an opportunity to play.
"You never know when you might be back in that situation again," Poteat said of being asked to return midseason. "So you want to play every game, every week as if it's your last game."
His approach to the preseason was to use hard work and determination not to let his teammates down. Poteat didn't view his time away from football last year in a negative light, he preferred to think of it as an opportunity, one he didn't want to blow.
"You come back really focused and you want to get the job done," Poteat explained. "You don't want to be the guy who comes in and messes everything up."
Poteat spent time covering the slot receiver in nickle or dime coverage. He also saw action returning kicks during training camp this preseason. He was in a roster battle with similar players such as Willie Andrews. Poteat understood that every performance mattered and played as if every game were his last.
"I'm excited to play every football game that I can," Poteat said before the Patriots first preseason matchup - a road trip to take on the Atlanta Falcons. "When you're out [of football], it's not that fun. When you get back, you just appreciate every opportunity you have to play football."
Head Coach Bill Belichick said Poteat's release wasn't easy.
"Well Hank, he's a great kid," Said Belichick. "He worked hard. He made some big plays for us, played in some big games.
"I have total respect for Hank, his work ethic, his approach to the game, his toughness, his competitiveness. It was a tough one this morning."
More Cuts Loom
League rules mandate roster size limits of 53 players, plus up to 8 players who can be on a team's practice squad. The next cut down date is September 2nd. Teams will have to release or place players on reserve lists at that time in order to meet the 53-man limit. Players not claimed by other teams can be signed to the practice squad if they're eligible.
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