Patriots

Patriots keep Hollister, part ways with Bolden and Carr in cut to 53 players

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Patriots keep Hollister, part ways with Bolden and Carr in cut to 53 players

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have a long history of holding onto undrafted players and turning them into contributors. This year, they decided to take four onto their initial 53-man roster. 

Tight end Jacob Hollister, offensive lineman Cole Croston, linebacker Harvey Langi and defensive lineman Adam Butler all remained on Bill Belichick's active roster after cuts were made Saturday. They join the likes of Malcolm Butler, David Andrews and Jonathan Jones as the three most recent examples of undrafted players winning roster spots following impressive rookie camps. 

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Notable names who did not make the cut were running back Brandon Bolden, tight end James O'Shaughnessy, defensive end Geneo Grissom, running back DJ Foster, receiver Devin Lucien, defensive lineman Darius Kilgo, guard Jamil Douglas, center James Ferentz, fullback Glenn Gronkowski, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton, offensive lineman Ted Karras, receivers KJ Maye and Tony Washington, and linebackers Trevor Bates and Jonathan Freeny. Rookie offensive lineman Conor McDermott, taken in the sixth round out of UCLA, was also waived.

A number of undrafted rookies were also released, including receivers Austin Carr and Cody Hollister (Jacob's twin brother), corners Kenny Moore and DJ Killings, safeties David Jones, Demarius Travis and Jason Thompson, corner/punt-returner Will Likely, defenisve lineman Josh Augusta, running back LeShun Daniels, linebacker Brooks Ellis, tight end Sam Cotton, defensive ends Mikey Bart and Nick Usher, and offensive linemen Max Rich and Jason King. 

Undrafted rookie offensive lineman Andrew Jelks and defensive end Keionta Davis landed on the non-football injury list. Patriots third-round draft pick Antonio Garcia was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list.

Julian Edelman, Cyrus Jones and Derek Rivers all landed on season-ending injured reserve. 

The Patriots made a handful of trades this week -- including three on Saturday -- leading receiver Phillip Dorsett, linebacker Marquis Flowers, defensive end Cassius Marsh and corner Johnson Bademosi to land spots on the roster. 

More WR trouble for Patriots: Dorsett helped off field at practice

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More WR trouble for Patriots: Dorsett helped off field at practice

The Patriots already-thin wide receiver group appeared to take another hit Tuesday when Phillip Dorsett had to be helped off the field during an 11-on-11 period at practice. 

Dorsett went down late in the practice following an 11-on-11 rep when he ran a route over the middle of the field. After hitting the turf -- I didn't see if he was hit or if he went down on his own -- a defensive player immediately called for help. Dorsett was eventually helped off the field by two staffers and made his way directly to the blue medical tent parked on the back of the practice fields. When he emerged, he got a hug from team chaplain/character coach Jack Easterby. Nick Caserio later came by to give Dorsett a pat on the back. After a few moments, Dorsett put his helmet back on and caught passes from an equipment assistant. He did not leave the field until the session was finished, walking off on his own. 

He gave a thumbs up as he made his way down the stairs toward the stadium and got into a cart that took him into the tunnel. Moments later, Dorsett was back on the field, spending time in the friends and family area before going back down the stairs to the stadium a second time.  

The Patriots - who've been without Kenny Britt, parted ways with Malcolm Mitchell and Jordan Matthews and been without Cordarrelle Patterson and Matthew Slater in portions of camp -- can ill afford to lose another wideout. Dorsett had a strong start to camp, which Tom Brady noted following Tuesday's work, and looked like the No. 2 receiver behind Chris Hogan for the first month of the season with Julian Edelman out the first four games serving a PED suspension. 

In Dorsett's absence, Hogan, Riley McCarron and Eric Decker seemed to see a bump in repetitions. Hogan was tired enough after practice that he hopped on the same cart Dorsett rode for a lift into the locker room area. 

When he met the media after practice Tuesday, quarterback Tom Brady spoke about Dorsett's injury.

"You never like to see it and everyone wanted to go over to see how he was doing because he's been doing so well in the spring and in training camp," Brady said. "Hopefully he's OK. I certainly hope he is. He has a great opportunity ahead of him. I hope he takes advantage of it."

Dorsett, in his fourth year out of Miami, was acquired early last season from the Indianapolis Colts in a trade for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He had 12 catches for 194 yards last season in 15 games. 

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Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

FOXBORO -- It's been well-documented. Eric Decker had a rough early portion of practice on Monday. He dropped a pass in one-on-ones. He dropped two more in a side session with Tom Brady. 

He wasn't thrilled with himself. He punched his own helmet. He hung his head briefly. 

During the session, in response to a tweet from NESN's Doug Kyed, former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins (who had a brief stay with the Patriots last year) tried to shed some light on what exactly Decker is going through at the moment as the new guy in town. 

Some players never fully grasp what they're being told and never get the chance to play at full speed. Decker, who has some background in the offense thanks to his time under Josh McDaniels in Denver, says he's getting close. But Monday's start was a sign he was still a ways off.

Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that it's his job to properly assess the mistakes made by a player in transition.

"I think you always have to account for the transition of a player who joins your team at some point during the season, training camp, midseason, whatever it is," he explained. "I don't think there's any set formula on that. Just evaluate it, engage it. The more time you have, the easier it is to make the right decision."

Decker finished Monday with a handful of catches in the 11-on-11 period, including one deep down the sideline with corner Jonathan Jones on him tight. That sort of bounce-back didn't surprise Decker, but both he and the team know that there's only a limited number of opportunities for him left before they have to make a decision as to whether or not he deserves a roster spot. 

"The more you know about the player and his fit on the team, his role, so forth, how well he can do, sometimes that takes time," Belichick said. "We only have the time we have. Whatever it is, it is. Just have to make the most of it. [We] would like to have more in all situations, but that's not always possible. Sometimes you have to make a decision with less information than you'd like to have."

The subject of Decker came up when Brady met the media at camp later Tuesday.

"I've watched him play a lot of football over the years," Brady said. "He's always been on great offenses. He's got to use his skill set, the one he's learned and used for a long time. He knows how to get open. Now, it's just about learning about what we do and how we do it. 

"He's worked hard. He's been out here every day. You can tell he's a real pro and hopefully, he can add something to the group." 

Decker should be able to provide the Patriots with more information on Thursday night against the Eagles. He played just six snaps against Washington last week but could be in line for more in preseason game No. 2. That may mean more reps with Brady. The quarterback told reporters at camp Tuesday that he plans to play in that game.

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