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ICB's Training Camp Competition Previews: TE

 
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Which player will get cut?
Ben Watson
18%
 18%  [ 2 ]
Alex Smith
9%
 9%  [ 1 ]
Chris Baker
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
David Thomas
72%
 72%  [ 8 ]
Total Votes : 11

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icecoldbruschi


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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Location: Titletown
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: ICB's Training Camp Competition Previews: TE Reply with quote

TE: Ben Watson vs. Alex Smith vs. Chris Baker vs. David Thomas vs. Tyson DeVree

Ever since the departure of Daniel Graham in free agency after the 2006 season, our TE unit has not been the same. Graham never put up gaudy numbers, but he always made the defense respect his skills and was a tremendous blocker. In Graham’s last season in Foxboro, Watson put up respectable numbers of 49 catches for 643 yards. Part of the reason could be that the addition of Wes Welker in free agency took the “safety valve” role away from our tight ends, but I think it has just been Watson’s regression.



First up is the previously aforementioned Watson. After Watson was selected 32nd overall in the 2004 Draft, he has been a bit of a disappointment. While he certainly hasn’t been a “bust” officially, we never got the expected production out of him and he never developed into that top 10 TE that we always thought he would. Watson has always had the size, speed and strength, but he has missed completely on other key areas. Watson always has had stone hands, often looking for the defender before hauling it in. For a guy his size, he just has never had the “killer instinct” that so many players in this league possess, particularly when the game is on the line. For proof, I give you the average Ben Watson postseason performance: 2.25 catches, 24 yards. The only time he has ever come up big was in the 2005 playoffs against the Jaguars. I personally think that the Alex Smith acquisition is a sign that his time here could be coming to an end.
Odds of being cut: 40%



As for Alex Smith, the Patriots acquired the veteran for a 5th round selection in next year’s draft. Smith does still have upside, as many Bucs fans pointed to the fact that he was never properly utilized in their scheme as the reason for his relatively subpar production. I think that if he can get comfortable with Tom Brady and gain his trust, he could be a major contributor here. In fact, I would not be surprised if he becomes a dominant red zone threat next to Randy Moss with his size and athleticism.
Odds of being cut: 5%



Chris Baker was signed this offseason away from the New York Jets. I think that Chris Baker can take on the Daniel Graham role of being the blocking TE and can especially help when facing teams such as the Colts and Chargers with premier pass rushers. With the contract we gave Baker this offseason, I would be surprised if he didn’t make the roster.
Odds of being cut: 1%



David Thomas is remembered for one of two things in the minds of Patriots fans. Either you remember him for his great performance against the Jaguars his rookie year or you remember the idiotic cheapshot he laid on the Colts defender this past season, effectively costing us the game. Ever since being Vince Young’s favorite target at the University of Texas, Thomas has never really established a quality rapport with any of our QB’s enough to really show that talent here. Thomas has only caught 21 passes in his career and has struggled to get open. This preseason will make or break his NFL career.
Odds of being cut: 54%



I do not think that Tyson DeVree has any shot at making this team at TE. However, a few knowledgeable Patriots posters have suggested he may be a candidate for the FB position, particularly since there is no signed FB on the current roster. I have yet to see any media reports of this, but if true, I think he has a great chance at the roster. To put it simply: if he can play FB, he will make this team. If not, then he will surely be cut. I won’t put any odds on this one because I have no clue how he will pan out there.

My Prediction: I think that we will finally see Ben Watson cut. He has underachieved his entire NFL career and the fact that we brought in two other quality TE’s this offseason does not bode well. If he does manage to make the roster, this will be his last chance. I think that David Thomas will have one more season to see if he can be that reliable target with sure hands that he was proclaimed to be coming out of college. Alex Smith and Chris Baker will be equivalent to the Fauria-Graham duo circa 2003. I do not think that DeVree makes the transition to FB. Either a true FB comes in or we go into the season without one.
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finn54


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Thomas has taken some snaps at FB, as has Alex Smith (alongside Hochstein and Ryan Wendell). Seeing as we don't have a true FB on the roster, David Thomas could earn a roster spot as a FB. I think Watson, Smith and Baker will enter the year as the TEs. I don't think Watson gets cut, IMO he's more likely to be traded. Some team is bound to fall in love with his athleticism and overlook his production (isn't it sad that you automatically thought Oakland when you read that?).
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redwhite&blue


Joined: 27 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think DeVree could make the 53 man roster initially but then end up getting cut shortly after the official roster has been announced. This situation has happened in the past I believe. I think a similar thing happened with Chad Jackson last year. I can see DeVree sticking around for a few weeks before getting released or something. Although I like his game, I just don't think he'll end up finishing the season with New England. I think it's going to be David Thomas, Alex Smith, and Russ Hochstein as the rotational FB's/H-backs throughout the season with Ben Watson and Chris Baker as the tight ends to go along with Thomas and Smith. Very interesting battle though, and it's one of the most talented, depth-filled positions on the entire roster.
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Grachuus


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use an actual full back so little that I'd expect us to not keep the spot for FB. It would be better used for TE or reserve lineman(Hochstein).
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GoldenboyGB


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too lazy to make a roster right now but if their is a way to keep them all I think Bill will do that instead of cutting one of them. By this I mean the intial poll question with Watson,Smith,Thomas, and Baker.
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icecoldbruschi


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GoldenboyGB wrote:
Too lazy to make a roster right now but if their is a way to keep them all I think Bill will do that instead of cutting one of them. By this I mean the intial poll question with Watson,Smith,Thomas, and Baker.


What would be the purpose of 4 TE's on the roster? Especially since I don't see any of them excelling at special teams. Belichick has shown a tendency to not put as much emphasis on the TE depth, as there have been times when we have only had 2 on the roster.

1 of the 4 will not be on the roster next season, I would be extremely surprised if that wasn't the case.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

icecoldbruschi wrote:
GoldenboyGB wrote:
Too lazy to make a roster right now but if their is a way to keep them all I think Bill will do that instead of cutting one of them. By this I mean the intial poll question with Watson,Smith,Thomas, and Baker.


What would be the purpose of 4 TE's on the roster? Especially since I don't see any of them excelling at special teams. Belichick has shown a tendency to not put as much emphasis on the TE depth, as there have been times when we have only had 2 on the roster.

1 of the 4 will not be on the roster next season, I would be extremely surprised if that wasn't the case.


I have to agree with ICB here. 4 TE's is just an over-abundance in our spread offense. One will get cut, or, like finn54 said, Thomas may convert to FB and take that roster spot. I wouldnt rule out a Watson trade, but at the same time I dont see him cut. My predictions are, in order of chance IMO

1. Thomas cut
2. Thomas FB
3. Watson Trade
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GoldenboyGB


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

icecoldbruschi wrote:
GoldenboyGB wrote:
Too lazy to make a roster right now but if their is a way to keep them all I think Bill will do that instead of cutting one of them. By this I mean the intial poll question with Watson,Smith,Thomas, and Baker.


What would be the purpose of 4 TE's on the roster? Especially since I don't see any of them excelling at special teams. Belichick has shown a tendency to not put as much emphasis on the TE depth, as there have been times when we have only had 2 on the roster.

1 of the 4 will not be on the roster next season, I would be extremely surprised if that wasn't the case.


You bring up a good point in really having no purpose for 4 TEs. Maybe Thomas could play special teams because he has done in it the past but I dont see Smith,Watson, or Baker doing that.

I also think the two-three TE sets could benefit the passing and running game. Having solid TEs never hurt especially how healthy Watson usually stays. I can see where your coming from and if I had to pick 3 TEs

Watson,Smith,Baker. Thomas gets cut
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hollywood14


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say Baker is 100% safe. We gave him a good size contract this off-season and he is the complete TE that we need on this roster. Although we did trade for Alex Smith I wouldn't say he's a lock for the team. We've traded draft choices for a ton of players that just haven't worked out in the past so just because we brought him I don't think it really means anything, to be honest. However, he does have all the ability in the world to be a top TE in the NFL and I think with a good QB like Brady, he'll develop into just that.

David Thomas is just a huge disaster. Like every of other 2006 draft pick not named Stephen Gostkowski. He's the odd man out, in my opinion. I don't see the Patriots simply cutting Watson like you suggest, even though I'm all for it. I do think this is Watson's last year to produce (or attempt to) before he is shown the door. But back to Thomas. Injuries have slowed him throughout his career but he even when he's been healthy he hasn't done a damn thing.

Finally DeVree. Meh. I don't see anything special in him at all even if we try him at the FB, H-Back type role that is similar to what Chris Cooley operates in Washington.

So Baker, Watson, Smith in .. Thomas out. DeVree?
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finn54


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

icecoldbruschi wrote:
What would be the purpose of 4 TE's on the roster? Especially since I don't see any of them excelling at special teams. Belichick has shown a tendency to not put as much emphasis on the TE depth, as there have been times when we have only had 2 on the roster.

1 of the 4 will not be on the roster next season, I would be extremely surprised if that wasn't the case.


I think i can agree with all of that. Again, we do have a need for someone to play FB, even if FB is a part time position in our offense (last year, Heath Evans took 213 snaps on offense, less than 20%). David Thomas is the 4th man now and i don't see him gaining any ground on the other 3. The only way Thomas gets a roster spot is at FB, but Russ Hochstein is probably favorite for that role, alongside Alex Smith.
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