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Bill Belichick wraps up preseason with roster cuts looming

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  August 30, 2012 11:52 AM

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick just wrapped his day-after conference call with local reporters following New England's loss to the New York Giants in the preseason finale on Wednesday. Here are some quick hits from that conversation:

Opening statement
Well, it was a short night here last night; we're trying to work through the film this morning and make decisions in the next 24 hours. We'll probably talk about it today and finalize things tomorrow, after a full night’s sleep. Take stock of our team, probably the rest of the teams, and (see) if there’s anything else in play [i.e. other players who may become available].

On the Patriots playing three preseason games in 10 days and how that condensed schedule affected the team
We did the best we could, I think we made progress, we definitely made progress; we worked guys in different stages, some guys played more than others … tried to balance that out. We'll try to keep moving ahead.

I think a lot of times when you're playing once a week you have a chance to practice everybody and play everybody in different increments during that game so the advantage of that is you get to see those players – [if you can] do it in all three games, you get to see them against three different schemes, different types of matchups…We played like a split-squad. The amount of plays was probably the same, close to the same, but more segmented.

On how many quarterbacks the Pats might keep
Let me answer it this way: when you get to certain point of your roster, look at the number 46 [the number of players that can be active on game days], those are the guys that are going to play. In that group you have a couple of players who may be injured…so call it 50 players - somewhere more than 46, but less than 53 - then you have depth and insurance for your team...Plus eight players on the practice squad, whoever they are - those players are also depth because they're practicing with you, they're in meetings with you (but) until those guys get to the game, they’re really depth…

It’s a combination of all those things. They’re inter-related, it's not just about one position…who are the players, what are the needs on the team, circumstances. There’s no real set formula for that. I can’t imagine having four quarterbacks on the roster; 2000 was a unique situation, we had two third quarterbacks really, very different, (Tom) Brady and (Michael) Bishop, one could have been on practice squad, Bishop might not have been practice squad eligible. [It becomes] which players do you want to protect. You can protect guys on the 53, not as much for practice squad players…those are all the considerations. They apply to every position, every player, once you get past whatever the number is, guys you know are going to play for you, want not only on the roster but in the game. There’s players we’d like to keep working with (that we just can’t)…and the conversation will include players that aren’t on our team right now.

On Brian Waters
I have no comment on that. I will say, any personnel decisions, whatever they are, we’ll always do what we feel is best for the football team.

On if Jermaine Cunningham's spring momentum carried through the preseason
Sure. I sure would say that. Overall he’s been at a higher level. He came to camp in great condition, worked hard offseason ... he came to training camp and that work, those improvements showed up. They showed up in practice, from early in camp to all four preseason games. It wasn't just one thing ... He has more position flexibility than in the past.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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