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Quick Kicks: Patriots briefly back in Foxborough

Bill Belichick’s team arrived back at Gillette Stadium at 4:30 this morning, following an overnight flight after Friday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Players are off today, but will be back at it Sunday and Monday before the club takes off again Tuesday for the preseason finale in New York against the Giants on Wednesday.

Between now and then, NFL rules mandate that all teams must cut their rosters down to 75 players by Monday afternoon. The Patriots are at 85, so, 10 players who were on the team as of last night will not be there for the next road trip.

It's possible that New England's cuts could come before the deadline, but, as Belichick told reporters on a midday conference call today, he didn't know for sure when those decisions would be made because he and his staff still had a lot of "balls in the air" as far as planning and logistics for the next few days are concerned.

Belichick would neither say who among his regular starters would play against the G-Men, given the first-teams' dismal performance in three quarters against the Buccaneers. He did, however, sound a more optimistic tone about his players' efforts in the 30-28 defeat than he did just hours ago in the immediate aftermath of the game. One player in particular, cornerback Marquice Cole, has "done a number of good things, as he has all training camp," according to Belichick.

Cole is a name to look for when the first round of cuts come over the next few days.

The Patriots will hold a regular-season-like day of practice and off-field preparation Monday, travel to New York Tuesday, return from the game in the overnight hours between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, then be forced to make their final round of cuts down to 53 on Friday. An eight-man practice squad will be assembled next weekend, and then it's time to look forward in earnest to the regular season opener at Tennessee.

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