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Depth perception

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  September 2, 2008 10:27 AM

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Matt Cassel: The only possible reason that this scattershot Scott Secules wannabe the is on this team is an alarming one: He was more prepared than Matt Gutierrez, in terms of knowledge of the playbook, maturity, and so on, to step in and play if Tom Brady's mysterious foot injury is worse than the Patriots are letting on, or hinders him in any way early in the season. While I think Brady will play Sunday, I do find the headlines ("Brady Ready For Pats' Opener") to be slightly misleading, only because Brady himself seems to qualify every answer with curious word choices, such as "If it's up to me . . ." To put it another way: I think he starts against the Chiefs. But the Patriots aren't as convinced as they'd like to be that his foot is completely healed, and there's at least a small concern that he may not finish. Thus the prepared, if hardly impressive, Cassel remains employed, while Gutierrez is left to wonder what he did wrong.

Deltha O'Neal: First thought when I saw on the ticker that he'd been signed: The Pats are picking up defensive players dumped by the Bengals now? Guess we should plan on a lot of 45-41 games this year. But the Patriots obviously had a need for a veteran cornerback after Fernando Bryant spent camp doing a spot-on Antonio Langham imitation (complete with the tire tracks on his chest) and played his way into a new line of work, and while the Bengals suggest O'Neal lost a step last year, he was axed primarily because the NFL's Official Cheapskate Franchise didn't want to pay a backup defensive back $3 million dollars. I bet he helps the cause in the same way Terrell Buckley did in '01. I'm also all for bringing back Ty Law at a reasonable rate, even with the suspicion that he may be attempting to become the first 260-pound cornerback.

Mark LeVoir: It's a strange game Belichick is playing with the back end of the roster, finding space for no-names like Rams discard LeVoir while turning one day's Stephen Spach into the next day's Jason Pociask. The suggestion, I guess, is that the roster isn't quite as deep as we thought it was. I was surprised that versatile Maine Black Bear great Mike Flynn didn't stick, but who knows, maybe Belichick will bring him back again in the next roster shuffle.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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