The New England Patriots made two more significant cuts in order to make space for the players they claimed off of waivers yesterday, and both Leon Washington and Marquice Cole seemed to have roles slated on the roster. Washington had a quiet and disappointing preseason, but Bill Belichick and running backs coach Ivan Fears did speak highly of Washington at points during August. He was expected to be the high-impact kick-off returner that this team was looking for, but evidently that never materialized. The Pats will still have to pay Washington his $360,000 signing bonus, and this move only makes sense if the Patriots believe that Josh Boyce or somebody else can be a quality kick-off returner (my money is on Boyce).
The Patriots also decided to part ways with cornerback Marquice Cole, who was extremely active in the final game of the preseason. Usually it’s a red flag when a cornerback leads the team in tackles, and Cole did give up several catches. However, he was also thrown at a lot and ended up looking pretty good in coverage (that doesn’t happen often for Cole) while also adding some good run defense. Cole is a great special teams player who can play in the nickel in a pinch with good run defense, but he just can’t cover. That said, the release of Ras-I Dowling seemed to leave a spot on the roster open for Cole, but apparently that isn’t the case.
The Associated Press reported the Leon Washington release, and a league source informed the Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young of the Marquice Cole cut. Both Cole and Washington were absent at practice yesterday (along with Will Svitek, who is safe for now), so they were on the “cut” radar once that was learned.