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Ask PFW: Bruschi makes perfect exit

I want to say thank you to Tedy Bruschi for 13 great seasons. All Pats fans should be so proud of such an incredible player playing for our team. Best of Luck in the future Tedy!David Houlden

I just want to give a last farewell to Bruschi. He embodies everything that u could ever ask for in a football player. His play and attitude is one of the reasons I fell in love with the Patriots. I loved knowing that the teams D was led by a player with such dedication to the team and the game and the fans. He embodied what it was to play football. He is truly one of the greatest to play the game. Was the corner stone of one of the greatest teams the NFL has known. And he was the heart and soul of the Patriots Nation. U will be forever missed #54.Britt McPhee

I'm sure you are getting flooded with emails like this and I'm sure they will all be very similar, Tedy Bruschi will be missed. What a player and leader he has been for the Patriots. Take Care Tedy and Thank You for all these years, I have enjoyed watching you play.Raymond Boulay

After hearing Tedy Bruschi's retirement speech, listening to him thank the fans, well no thanks needed that's what fans do they back up their players through thick & thin! It is us that should thank Tedy for all the great years he has given us, the inspiration, & all the dedication, to come back after his stroke, to still give it all he had. For that I say thank you, Tedy. It is sad to see him go just as it was to see Troy [Brown] go. We all know this time comes no matter how much it is dreaded but to keep your entire career here, Thank You. I would also like to start lobbying to retire the #54 jersey. It's Tedy's & it should retire with him!
Mark McBride

This is just a small sampling of the emails we've received over the last couple days regarding Bruschi's retirement. The tone of all those emails is very simple – Thank You, Tedy. Bruschi truly led a remarkable career in New England. He went from potential sub player and special teamer as a third-round pick without a position to a key playmaker on the best defense, best team in football. An elite college pass rusher as a defensive tackle, Bruschi's transition to Pro Bowl inside linebacker is the stuff football legends are made of. His return from a stroke to lead the team in tackles is the stuff living legends are made of. Combine the two and you have the stuff that New England legends are made of.

I could rattle on about what he did for the team, but I think Bill Belichick said and showed that yesterday better than any of us scribes ever could. Not only did Bill call Tedy a perfect player, but he got choked up a number of times while talking about his linebacker's impressive career. It was an emotional display like I've never seen from Belichick. To me, that says it all. The Patriots have a huge hole to fill on the field, in the locker room and within the borders of Patriots Nation as a whole. As the fans have said, Tedy will clearly be missed.
Andy Hart

Do you think Peyton Manning wrote Tedy Bruschi one of his signature "retirement letters"? Tedy Bruschi was an amazing player in this league and I thought he would deserve something like that. And what are you thoughts of Tedy in Canton?
John Betters

I have not seen whether Manning has written one of those letters yet, as he's done for so many former opponents including Troy Brown. I wouldn't be surprised if he does send one along to No. 54 at some point given the rivalry between the two teams and given the players' roles on opposing sides of the ball in that rivalry.

As for Bruschi's chances of getting in Canton, I'd say they are pretty slim. He only went to a single Pro Bowl and doesn't have the overall numbers to measure up to Hall of Fame linebackers or even contemporaries like Ray Lewis. He'll certainly be in the Patriots Hall of Fame, though. That's a lock, probably in his first year of eligibility. Although that could be an interesting class of nominees that could include the names Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Ty Law and Rodney Harrison. Pulling one name from that pool is a tough call.
Andy Hart

Hey guys I was looking at the website last night when I saw the Patriots released Kevin O'Connell. I thought O'Connell's performance this preseason was exceptional and people were saying he would be Brady's replacement when he retired. Is there any reason why he was released and is there a chance he could get signed to the practice squad? Thanks.Jacob Plante

Well first of congrats to Tedy Bruschi on a HOF worthy career here in New England. He was a great player for a long time and inspirational to many people after coming back from his stroke to continue playing at a high level for the Patriots. Best of luck on your post-football life. On to the question why would the Patriots cut Kevin O'Connell. He has not looked bad in any of the preseason games and cutting him means we have nobody with experience in the offense behind Brady. Also we spent a third-round pick on him just two years ago, shouldn't we have waited a little longer to see how he develops?Brad Carroll

I was quite confused when I heard that O'Connell was released, he was highly touted when drafted. Even if the Patriots felt he wasn't the right man shouldn't they have at least attempted to trade him and get something for their investment. I trust in BB but this seems like a bad move.Brad Pelletier

First I'd like to say thanks for keeping all us fans informed with your insight on Pats happenings. I'm curious about what you think about the Pats quarterback situation now that O'Connell has been released. Thanks from a Mass. transplant in North Carolina!
Scott Eames

Hey guys, Do you happen to have any info regarding the release of Kevin O'Connell? I know he's played poorly this offseason, but he wasn't much of a cap hit, and it does seem a little early to give up on what many writers deemed the heir apparent to Brady. Could this mean that Brady's shoulder injury is more serious than we thought and now we need to free up a spot for a legit backup QB, or is this faith in Andrew Walter and Brian Hoyer? Any knowledge on this situation would be greatly appreciated.
David Gilmore

As with the Bruschi retirement, we got a ton of emails related to the Patriots waiving good-bye to O'Connell. Most people question the move and how quickly it transpired in the developmental passer's young career. I have to agree with that sentiment, especially since there doesn't seem to be a much better option on the roster.

Basically it just seems like Belichick felt he had enough information from his year-plus with O'Connell to decide things weren't going to work out, that he wasn't a good fit for the system in New England. I think we're all surprised with how quickly the decision was made considering the amount of time we've seen other players given to succeed/fail in New England. Obviously Belichick sees way more on and off the field than any of us ever do and felt he had the information at hand to make this decision and move on. I will say that I thought O'Connell had a tough camp and continued to struggle with many of the accuracy and consistency issues that he faced as a rookie. But there is no way I thought the team would cut ties with him this soon. If anything, I expected O'Connell would be in a battle for his roster life next training camp. My guess is that the team did look into trading him, but didn't get much in terms of takers. That's probably why he was reportedly told of his release over the weekend despite the fact that the paperwork wouldn't be filed with the League until Monday. A trade never happened. And as Belichick discussed in today's press conference, by rule O'Connell is not eligible for the practice squad despite playing in just two games as a rookie, thanks to the fact that he was on the 45-man game day roster for more than nine games. My guess is that he'll be claimed by a team off waivers today. It will be interesting to see if at this late point in the process he can land a roster spot anywhere.

In terms of what's left on the New England QB depth chart, there isn't a lot behind Brady. Andrew Walter is still learning the system, barely a month into his career here. From the little I've seen he's not the most accurate passer at times and his reads aren't all that quick. Brian Hoyer has looked OK at times in camp, but has a questionable arm and has struggled getting the offense to line up and run smoothly in practice action. Does that mean the team could be on the lookout to bring someone in? Maybe. But the problem with that is the new guy would be starting to learn the offense in September. That's a tough task to ask unless he's played in the scheme before. And who's out there ready to be grabbed? The name A.J. Feeley has been thrown about, but why would the Eagles trade him before Michael Vick gets reinstated? Can a team wait to get a backup until the second month of the regular season? Seems hard to believe. Right now it looks like Walter, like O'Connell a former third-round pick himself and a starter in Oakland, is the guy and he'll have to quickly prove he's ready to go. Either way, just keep praying that Brady remains healthy and upright this fall. That's obviously the easiest solution to this whole backup QB situation.
Andy Hart

Do you think the release of Kevin O'Connell could be do to the team needing to make room for a READY backup QB for Brady, meaning his injury could be more severe than expected? I don't see any other reason, as O'Connell was obviously a project, so this would make sense. What do you guys think?
Joe Romor

Is it Romor or Rumor, Joe? What are you hearing? I can always use another good source. As far as Brady's shoulder, I'm not worried in the least. He was back at practice on Monday. We all saw him throwing on the sidelines in Washington. Is it sore? Probably. But it doesn't seem like there is any reason to believe it's much more than that. Regardless, what "READY" backup are you talking about. There aren't any new bodies out there that the team couldn't have already had before this point. I think as New England fans we need to get past the idea that there is some great, perfect backup option out there. That guy doesn't exist. I'm not saying I feel great about Walter in that role right now, but I'm not sure there are too many guys I would feel good about. And if you wanted O'Connell to develop long term, why would you dump him to bring in a "READY" now. Would you have cut Walter or Hoyer. Bottom line is the Patriots just didn't want O'Connell anymore. That simple.
Andy Hart

Could Belichick simply be trying to pass O'Connell through waivers in order to place him on the practice squad?Marc Schwenzfeier

While I think we were all stunned by O'Connell's release and are trying to come up with reasons for it, your theory isn't all that sound. First and foremost O'Connell, according to Belichick, isn't eligible for the practice squad. Beyond that, if you are trying to sneak a guy through waivers, the best time to do it is at final cuts when a boatload of names hit the wire at the same time. Doing it early, even before the 75-man cut, only serves to make the name all that more notable. I don't really buy the fact that guys slip through the waiver wire unnoticed anyway. Teams are too smart, have too many people working for them and have too much to gain to allow that to happen. Nice try, but we're all left searching for answers. Which brings me back to the idea that the answer is simple, Belichick just didn't want O'Connell anymore and didn't think he was good enough to keep working with at this point. Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one. Maybe this is one of those cases.
Andy Hart

I will miss Teddy Bruschi!, a great leader and captain. (Any chance he coaches the linebackers at New England in the near future?) But when one door closes another one opens. Now its Gary Guyton's time to step up. Which leads me to my question, with Larry Foote's departure from Pittsburgh and Teddy Bruschi now retired, who do you think will have a better season, Lawrence Timmons or Gary Guyton? Both are young and more athletic than their predecessor and are trying to fill some pretty big shoes despite currently being in the early stages of their career. Your thoughts?Juan Rodriguez

Bruschi left the door open for just about any role in life moving forward. While I think he'll be involved in the game, maybe even as a coach at some level, I don't think it will be the NFL. Few players want to make the transition into coaching and the ridiculous time commitment it represents. My guess is that we'll see plenty of Bruschi in the media, but if he ends up coaching I would think it would be at a lower level than the NFL that requires less-ridiculous work hours. He has a family to deal with now and I think he's looking forward to that part of his life.

The comparison between Timmons and Guyton is interesting as young guys stepping up on defense for the two best teams in football. Timmons has more experience heading into his third season and as a former first-round pick is more touted than the undrafted Guyton. Both are probably a bit undersized for playing inside linebacker in the 3-4. But both make up for that with impressive speed and athleticism. I'm intrigued by both players, but given his draft status I have to think more is expected of Timmons. I also still think that over the long haul Guyton is better served as a sub player in passing situations than as an every-down linebacker.
Andy Hart

Do you think Teddy really wanted to retire, or do you think he was going to be cut and and then made the decision?
Bella M.

Belichick said yesterday on WEEI radio something to the effect that there is always a spot on the team for Tedy Bruschi. I think that's true and No. 54 simply decided it was time to walk away. I don't think there is any way he would have been cut, especially considering the relative lack of depth the team has a linebacker – inside and out -- at this point. Bruschi's retirement was just that, a true retirement.
Andy Hart

Now that O'Connell is released by the Patriots, it's time to release Maroney as well. Maroney hasn't shown his worth, and doesn't like to lower his shoulder in traffic (evident against how he ran against the Redskins, 7 carries for 16 yards). Green-Ellis, though playing against 2nd teamers, showed his worth against the Redskins (6 carries 49 yards) and should be ahead of Maroney to get more reps. What do you guys think ?
Arch S.

I have a different take on Maroney, I'm thinking Coach Belichick knows what he has in Maroney (tremendous speed, soft inside runner) and will make him the next Kevin Faulk, put that kid in space and he's gone! He's obviously not an every down back like Fred Taylor (used to be)that can take a pounding every down. I love Faulk but he's no spring chicken anymore. So if we utilize Maroney on 3rd downs like Faulk, look out! Imagine Faulk & Maroney coming out of the backfield, who's going to cover both of them? I would agree Maroney needs to work on his catching skills but he could be another dangerous weapon in the passing game, not a ground pounder. What are you thoughts on Maroney's future with the Patriots? Thanks.MM4

Green Ellis is the best runner the Pats have and should start. Phil Simms had a great observation during the Pats-Skins game. Maroney taps his feet while Green Ellis makes a cut and accelerates. We have seen this over a long period of time to know their styles are not going to change. Green Ellis has the most energy and runs very hard. Trade Maroney for a pick. What do you think?
Griff Thomas

Opinions on the New England running backs are as varied as they are impassioned. Seems like you can find someone who believes each of the top five on the depth chart – Maroney, Sammy Morris, Taylor, Faulk and Green-Ellis – should start. I think all the players come with relative strengths and weaknesses. That's expected for all of them at this point in their careers, except Maroney. As a former first-round pick we expected him to develop into a lead back, franchise-type player. Thanks to injuries and maybe some other factors, he hasn't. I do think that Belichick has looked into creating more chances for Maroney in the passing game and getting him the ball in space. While I don't think he'll ever be a natural in that area like Faulk, he's surely shown improvement after having done little of that in college. Despite his seemingly many detractors, I still think Maroney is going to be given a chance to be a major contributor to this offense in 2009.

Green-Ellis is another interesting young back. All he's ever done is produce when given the chance. He had four 1,000-yard seasons at two different schools in college. He had a 100-yard game in New England as an undrafted rookie. This summer I think he's looked even better, showing a more elusive running style and better overall quickness and athleticism. But I still think it's a little early to dub him the present or even the future at the running back spot in New England. Let's not forget that Maroney has done some very impressive things in short stints when healthy for the Patriots. Go back and watch the final two months of 2007 if you need a reminder. He's a frustrating player (and I don't think that the great Phil Simms is the first to comment on Maroney's running style) but I'm not ready to run him out of town just yet, and I don't think Belichick is either. The Patriots have a nice luxury of depth in the running back committee. Given the age and injury history of the players on the committee, I think the depth is a key factor in what should be an overall successful and diverse running game this fall.
Andy Hart

Um, they released Kevin O'Connell? The man who was supposed to be Brady's successor? A third round pick from only a year ago? The one that some writers here claimed was steadily improving? Please tell us the reasoning behind this.Jesse M.

Writers? Plural? Wrong! I'm pretty sure most of us here have been writing all offseason – go back and check the archives if you want – that O'Connell remained inconsistent, still lacked accuracy on his short and intermediate throws and hadn't seemed to make a huge jump in year two. Now, you may be referring to Erik Scalavino's assessment of a guy he's had a man-crush on since the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine. I have no answer for his assessment of O'Connell, other than the Patriots must have fallen in love with the QB at that same Combine as they drafted him in the third round only to cut ties with him a little over a year later. So Erik was not alone in his admiration of O'Connell's raw skills. He just hasn't cut ties with him yet. The Patriots have.
Andy Hart

I think that this organization is best in the league in many areas except one - drafting below first half of round 1. In that area we have been about average, and I don't understand why?Ted Belengoff

That's an interesting question. I'm not sure I have a real answer. Given elite picks Belichick and Co. come away with elite talent like Seymour, Mayo and Warren. It's a small sampling, but they have not missed on top picks. I'd say they've done a decent job with picks after the middle of the round as well. I know we look at guys like Maroney, Watson and Graham as poor selections. But I can counter those with the names Wilfork, Mankins and maybe even Meriweather. So overall the team has hit on its top selections under Belichick and been at least 50/50 on later picks in the first round. I haven't done a detailed analysis comparing that to the rest of the league, but I think you'd find it would compare favorably. To me the area that the team has struggled in at times is in the second round through the middle part of the draft. Success in that area helped build the team back in 2002-03. Things fell off from there until this year, when I think you are seeing a return to the type of overall draft class depth that we'll all be marveling at a couple seasons from now.
Andy Hart

Hi I thought a few years ago that the QB could NOT be driven into the ground which he was i.e. roughing the passer. I know he just released the ball but...Can you confirm that rule for me. Thank you.Thomas Casey

You are not allowed to drive a quarterback into the ground. That's unnecessary roughness. I thought this play with Haynesworth and Brady, based on how the NFL pampers QBs, was borderline. In my perfect world it was nowhere near illegal. But the way the NFL calls these things, I see why you were wondering. You're not the only person, or Patriots fan, who felt that way.
Andy Hart

Hey Guys, Love this section! Baseball actually led me to a football question. So many times MLB teams trade away young talent for win-now veterans and often the young players turn out to be really good. This brought me to BB and Co. Can you think of a player who has been let go by the Pats, either not resigned, traded, or waived, who has gone on to be better with another team? I can't say I know of one who improved after leaving New England- Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Asante Samuel, Damien Woody, Drew Bledsoe?
Dan Fiske

I think the answer to this question depends on what your criteria is. If it is winning Super Bowls then none spring to mind. But some guys were as good or better. Asante Samuel was an All-Pro for the Eagles last season and made some big plays for them, including in the playoffs. Law put up some big numbers in New York the year after he left, although I do think the numbers were overrated. Robbie Gould developed into one of the best kickers in the game, earning All-Pro honors as the third most accurate kicker in league history. Drew Bledsoe put up good numbers for short periods of time in both Buffalo and Dallas, better than he performed in his final years in New England. So while no player went on to dramatically improve his game for the positive on a winning team, I think plenty of guys were as good as they were in a Patriots uniform for portions of their career after leaving New England. The difference in your baseball comparison is that it's rare in football for a team to trade a young, elite prospect for a proven star. That just doesn't happen and therefore you don't see the development of stars after being traded away from one team to another. At the very least, it's much more rare in the NFL than MLB because of the many inherent differences between the two sports, their overall systems for talent development and the frequency of trades.
Andy Hart

I noticed we just signed Tyrone McKenzie, is he going to be ready to play this season? I thought he had a season ending knee injury? ThanksWill Faiella

McKenzie was signed and placed on injured reserve thanks to the knee injury he suffered in rookie mini-camp.
Andy Hart

Now that Russ Hochstein was [traded] who do you see filling the role of fullback during short yardage and goal line situations? Is there a RB big enough or a LB, OL, DL, versatile enough to fill that role? Or even any free agents available? Keep up the great work guys.
Joe Biela

My guess is you will see that role split between the tight ends and linemen. David Thomas and other tight ends have taken reps in the backfield in the preseason, and Thomas in particular looks good in the role. We've also seen other offensive linemen fill the role, much like Hochstein did. My guess is you'll see both fill the slot at different points during the year. It's not a role the Patriots need filled all that often.
Andy Hart

I'm iffy about the trading of Hochstein. Who will replace him as a versatile OL/FB backup? Also, I saw that Ninkovich had quite a few tackles in one of the preseason games, is he going to be a good help at LB or is it more special teams?Tobias Milton

Nice, I can scratch Tobias off my list of names we've gotten Ask PFWs from. Next up, Jebediah.

I forgot to mention Ninkovich as an emergency option at fullback in the previous answer. He's actually one of the more versatile players on the roster. He's played defensive end, inside linebacker and outside linebacker in NFL action. He thought he was going to be New Orleans' long snapper and is a backup option in that area (a role Hochstein also held in the past). He played tight end for a while at Purdue and caught touchdown passes there. I bet he could play fullback as well. I think his wide versatility could win him a roster spot as he provides depth in many areas, including on special teams. I like him. He kind of looks like Mike Vrabel, too. In fact let's call him Mike Vrabel II. Some of his teammates noticed the similarities when he first arrived in New England during training camp.
Andy Hart

First, I must say you guys do great work. Second, I was wondering what Ty Law's status is? And if depth becomes an issue, or quality of play becomes an issue, in the secondary, is there a chance they might look into him. I know he has lost a step but is Shawn Springs really that much better? Since the career numbers are irrelevant because of their age, I will focus on the past three seasons. Law is one year older than Springs. Over the last three seasons Law has played in more games than Springs, 39 to 34. And has started more games, 38-29. They registered the same amount of INTs (not counting Law's 2 playoff INTs). Springs leads in Passes defended, 31-24. Springs has the lead in tackles 124-117. I would give Law the edge when it comes to instincts and durability (I'm almost certain he played in every game he was under contract for). And come Playoff time, Law has proven he can come up with big plays. However, those stats show that Springs is more productive in less games but he is not as reliable to play every Sunday. Law is familiar with the D and in the past has gotten on the field to play and practice in it. They would both provide veteran leadership. If I could pick one, I would pick Law. I'm biased because I really like Law, but are the numbers that far apart?
Craig
Boxborough, Mass.

Craig, my friend, Holy numbers overload! My eyes hurt. I have a brain freeze. And all that for me to tell you that I also think Law has had a better career in the NFL. Law has put up decent numbers since leaving the Patriots, but is clearly not anywhere near the corner he once was. We saw reports this spring that he'd even had conversations with Belichick and wanted to return. My guess is that he wanted a little more coin than the Patriots were looking to pay him at this point. I don't think he's in as good a shape as Springs at this point, regardless of the what the injuries and games missed tells us. I say that despite the fact that Springs has missed nearly the entire preseason with for undisclosed reasons. The bottom line is that in an emergency I'm sure the Patriots would still kick the tires on Law. But at this point the team has a formulated combination of young players and new veterans to work with. That may change, but it's too early to tell.
Andy Hart

I understand that this is the preseason but the Pats secondary doesn't look vastly improved. I agree that the d-line needs to give pressure but the CBs & safety also need to cover someone closely and then make immediate tackles. Tackling seems to have gone out the window with some of the guys who will make the team. Is this going to get better or do we need to win every game 38 to 35?Darrell Veilleux

What's wrong with 38-35? It doesn't change the Veilleux of the win, does it? (I know that one was a stretch, but some readers really like those lame name jokes. You know who you are!)

Anyway, the defense is clearly still a work in progress. On paper I think the group has been greatly upgraded, especially the secondary. But on the field there are still some growing pains going on. I think that is to be expected when you bring in so many new and young faces to play pass defense. They may be more talented. They may be a productive unit in November. But they may struggle early. I actually think it will play out that way, struggle early only to grow into a productive unit later in the season. I do agree with the need for more pass rush help from the front and a better focus on tackling. Aside from James Sanders, I don't see one guy in the secondary that I feel good about in terms of tackling. Not sure if it's simple technique, desire, attitude or what. Tackling as a whole needs to be more consistent.
Andy Hart

I might be going out on a limb here but I have heard there is a chance Branch could be on his way out in Seattle. Based on his relationship with Brady, is he worth a look as the third or fourth wide receiver if the Seahawks give him the axe? If he is 85% of his former self, this could be a wicked tough trio to cover.Butch Notfox

First, I'd take Branch back in a heartbeat. I always like him, on and off the field. Sure he's had injuries over the years and never became the true No. 1 target he was paid to be in Seattle. But one thing that's been greatly exaggerated since he was traded away, is his falling off the map for the Seahawks. As I said, he never became a No. 1 guy. But his numbers in Seattle pretty much fall in line with his four years in New England, especially in terms of yards-per-catch and touchdowns and even, to some degree, games played. I'd love to see what he could be with a return to his good friend Tom Brady and this offense. Whatever he is at this point – and I'm not sure how much he's lost considering what I saw him do to the Patriots last December – I'll put it on my team any day. But the rumors of his time running out in Seattle seem to be a little premature at this point, as reports out of the Pacific Northwest still seem to indicate Branch will remain in that cool fluorescent green color for at least one more season.
Andy Hart

I am a faithful reader of ask PFW every Tuesday, always look forward to it. Anyway, after watching last night's game in Washington, I must say the defense was pathetic in my opinion. They looked sloppy and lazy at times, making Jason Campbell look like an All-Pro quarterback. I don't know about your thoughts, but I expected better out of all of the free agent moves and draft picks focused on making the defense better. I know it's the preseason, but the first half defensively was poor. Should us Pats fans be worried that the defense will be like last years?Dave Sarro

As I said above, the defense is clearly a work in progress. Some guys in the secondary, especially Leigh Bodden need to show the ability to step up and make plays. The group was kind of feast-or-famine against Washington. The Skins drove to a touchdown on the first series and then were held to three three-and-outs. (Although Washington helped out with some miss opportunities.) I thought the New England front did a nice job against the run and both Wilfork and Seymour looked like beasts. They were exploding into the line and beating up on people. I understand the concerns, especially with all the changes to the unit coming off last year's dismal defensive campaign. But give it a little time to come together and for some regularity in terms of personnel to settle into the group. I still say the potential is there for the defense to be much better in 2009. But potential only gets you so far, at some point it has to show up on the field. That's what we're waiting for heading into the regular season. I'm staying optimistic.
Andy Hart

Hey guys I noticed that Sebastian Vollmer and Steve Williams both wore #76 last night. Why does the team have two players wearing the same number?David Gilmore

David, how are your girls? (No offense, just another lame joke. It's a reference to one of Paul Perillo's favorite TV shows.) Due to the large rosters and number limitations in training camp, the team often has to issue the same number to multiple players – usually one player on each side of the ball. That's why the preseason roster often lists two guys with the same number and the letter 'b' or 'w' after the name. That stands for blue or white, the colors the defense and offense where in practice action respectively.
Andy Hart

What is the story on Shawn Crable? Still in IR or the PUP list? Have not seen him in games but he is still listed as #2 OLB on depth chart.Robert Schwertfeger

As of Tuesday at 3:17 P.M. – I feel like we need to be specific this time of year with all the moves going on, and with fellow 2008 third-round pick O'Connell already having been sent packing – Crable remains on the active roster. He's missed most of the summer for unknown reasons. He's been in the locker room, but hasn't talked with the media much. He cannot go on PUP for the beginning of the season, because to land on that reserve list you must open training camp on the active PUP list and remain there until the regular season begins. That's obviously not the case at this point with Crable. So he'll either make the 53-man roster, get cut or go on IR. Those are pretty much his only options at this point and since we've seen him do very little I really don't know how it will play out. My guess is that his potential and measurables keep him on the roster, but I wouldn't be willing to bet much on it right now even considering the current lack of depth at the position.
Andy Hart

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