Matt Cassel's tenure in New England has never been rougher than this preseason, despite his struggles it wasn't enough for the team to give up on the fourth year USC product. Instead, the other Matt (Gutierrez) was sent on his way as the Patriots pared their roster to 53 today.
Of the cuts made, maybe the most surprising was cornerback Fernando Bryant. The Patriots signed Bryant as a free agent on March 20, 2008. Since joining New England he assumed the spot vacated by New England's top corner last season, Asante Samuel. Bryant started every preseason game at the left cornerback position, but a poor showing against the New York Giants may have contributed to the decision to move on. (Editor note: See GB&B).
Another mild surprise release was linebacker Victor Hobson who joined the team as a free agent on April 7, 2008. Hobson spent 5 years with the New York Jets participating in 76 games (58 starts). During his tenure he recorded 334 tackles (229 solo), 11 sacks, 3 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. The emergence of rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo put Hobson at a disadvantage initially, while the strong performance by undrafted rookie free agent Gary Guyton was the final piece of the puzzle.
In addition to releasing 14 players, the Patriots placed Bo Ruud and Kenny Smith on reserve/injured list, ending their season. The team also moved OL Oliver Ross from the PUP list to the reserve/non football injury list. Stephen Neal remains on PUP and will miss the first six weeks of the season.
Here are the Patriots transactions from Saturday:
DL Titus Adams
DB Fernando Bryant
TE Tyson DeVree
S Mark Dillard
OC Mike Flynn
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
QB Matt Gutierrez
LB Victor Hobson
LB Vince Redd
CB Mike Richardson
OT Stephen Sene
DB Antwain Spann
DL Santonio Thomas
OG John Welbourn
With the moves, and Kevin Faulk's suspension, the team's roster stands at 54 players. The Patriots will need to make one more move after the first game of the season when Faulk is reinstated by the league.
NFL Teams can begin signing players to their practice squad at noon on Sunday.