The Patriots have made another eyebrow-raising release as they cut their roster down to 53 players on Saturday. Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran is reporting that the team has decided to part ways with Geneo Grissom, a 2015 third-round pick out of Oklahoma.
Grissom was a valued special teams contributor in New England, appearing in 15 games as a rookie, using his combination of size and speed to be trusted in kick coverage as well as in the kick-return game. Patriots coaches worked with Grissom this summer on his ability to catch kickoffs in the event opposing teams tried to kick short with new touchback rules in place.
Defensively, however, Grissom had difficulty solidifying his spot as a defensive end. He played more defensive snaps than any other Patriots player during their four preseason games, and while he seemed to perform well with those snaps, he appeared to be behind Chris Long and Trey Flowers as depth pieces at that position. Grissom's lofty snap count may have also been due in part to the fact that Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Rob Ninkovich (triceps) have been injured and unavailable. The NFL announced on Friday that Ninkovich will be serving a four-game suspension to start the year.
It appears as though the Patriots are comfortable with the top of their depth chart at the defensive end position as ESPN's Mke Reiss has reported that the team has also released edge-defender Rufus Johnson as part of their final cuts.