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Report: Patriots add QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson to practice squad

08.31.14 at 6:31 pm ET
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McLeod Bethel-Thompson

McLeod Bethel-Thompson

The Patriots have added quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder out of UCLA has bounced around professional football the last few years. He’s had stints with the 49ers, Dolphins and Vikings, as well as San Jose of the Arena Football League and Sacramento of the United Football League.

He was with San Francisco in camp earlier this summer but was part of the cuts that reduced the roster to 75 players. In three preseason games this summer, the 26-year-old was 11-for-18 for 113 yards no touchdowns and two interceptions.

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Patriots officially announce Ryan Mallett trade, as well as other transactions

08.31.14 at 4:29 pm ET
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The Patriots announced a series of roster moves Sunday afternoon, including the official announcement of the trade of Ryan Mallett, the acquisitions of Kelcy Quarles and defensive lineman Bruce Gaston and the release of linebacker Chris White. Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:

Gaston, 22, was originally signed by Arizona as a rookie free agent out of Purdue on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder, was released by Arizona on Aug. 30, 2014. Gaston saw action in 50 consecutive games over four seasons at Purdue with 44 starts and finished with 131 total tackles, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

Quarles, 22, was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent out of South Carolina on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-4, 294-pounder, was released by the Giants on Aug. 30, 2014. He played in 35 games with 28 starts during a three-year career at South Carolina, finishing with 105 total tackles and 13 sacks. Quarles attended Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy for one year prior to transferring to South Carolina.

Mallett, 26, is a veteran of three NFL season with the Patriots. The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder, originally joined the Patriots as a third round (74th overall) draft pick out of Arkansas in 2011. He has played in four NFL games and has completed one pass for 17 yards.

White, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2011-12) and the Patriots (2013). The 6-foot-3, 238-pounder, was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots from Detroit on Sept. 1, 2013. He originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (169th overall) by Buffalo out of Mississippi State in 2011. He was traded by Buffalo to Detroit in a trade for QB Thad Lewis on Aug. 25, 2013. White was released by Detroit on Aug. 31, 2013. Last season, White played in 16 games and finished with one tackle on defense and nine special teams tackles.

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Read More: Bruce Gaston, Chris White, Kelcy Quarles, Ryan Mallett

Bill Belichick on constructing ‘best line’ to protect Tom Brady

08.31.14 at 3:36 pm ET
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Marcus Cannon could get a chance to be a big part of the Patriots offensive line this season. (Getty Images)

Marcus Cannon could get a chance to be a big part of the Patriots offensive line this season. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Much was made of what the Patriots were going to do with the departure of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay. Josh Kline got the start at left guard Thursday in the preseason finale and looked strong for the most part, with the exception of getting bull-rushed twice that left him on the ground.

Bill Belichick spoke glowingly about Marcus Cannon on Friday in a conference call, leading to speculation that one might see a line of Nate Solder, Cannon, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer to start the season.

There’s also the possibility that Jordan Devey could see action on the interior at either guard position.

The offensive line in front of Tom Brady has seen its fair share of transition over the years. From Matt Light to Nate Solder at left tackle, and Dan Koppen to Dan Connolly at center, there has always been player movement along the line and somehow Tom Brady manages to still run one of the best offenses in football.

But Brady enters this season with more doubt about who will be helping to protect his blind side. Belichick offered some perspective Sunday, reminding everyone that it’s not necessarily the five best individuals on the line but the best working unit that he’s looking for to protect Brady and provide the holes for the running game.

“I think in the end you want to get your, not necessarily your best five athletes, but the best line that you can put out there,” Belichick said. “That group has a lot of responsibility in terms of protecting the quarterback and protecting the running backs and giving your team an opportunity to move the ball consistently. So, whatever that is, I think you always want your best group out there. That may be your best players, there may be situations where you might have a better player that’s not in there but the position doesn’t fit.”

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Read More: Darius Fleming, Jordan Devey, Josh Kline, Malcolm Butler

Bill Belichick breaks down his philosophy (and science) of roster building

08.31.14 at 2:39 pm ET
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Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning when thinking of roster building. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning when thinking of roster building. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With so much roster manipulation going on throughout the NFL over this weekend, it’s reasonable to wonder what an NFL coaching staff and front office considers when coming to decisions on the best players to keep and those best-suited to a particular system.

With the trade of Ryan Mallett to the Texans, it was clear the Patriots were waiting until the very last (best) moment to see what they could get before pulling the trigger. They made the deal and then claimed a defensive tackle off waivers from the Giants in Kelcy Quarles that many believed more talented than one or two of the tackles the Giants wound up keeping.

The move, in a nutshell, illustrates that Bill Belichick and his staff are all about opening roster spots in one area to fill needs (either in talent or depth) at another. In this case, Belichick stayed true to his recent approach of keeping just two quarterbacks, (especially when one is named Tom Brady) and building depth along the defensive line. Belichick watched last year as he lost his two most experienced and accomplished defensive linemen in Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly.

He now has a free agent out of South Carolina that could fill big shoes if Wilfork or someone else goes down along the front.

Belichick was asked Sunday if there’s a difference between building the 46-man projected roster for game day or the 53-man active roster he finalized on Saturday.

“I’d say the best 46, that’s an easy question,” Belichick said. “I’m not saying it’s an easy answer but it’s easy in that you pick the players for that particular week that you feel like give your team the best chance to win based on your matchup with that team and your game plan going into that game, which you can control. If you do a lot of one thing and less of something else, then you can configure based on the 53 players, you can pick the 46 ones that best fit that plan for that particular week and then change it the next week if you want to.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Kelcy Quarles, New England Patriots, Roster Cuts

Report: Patriots add DT Kelcy Quarles

08.31.14 at 2:15 pm ET
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Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles was claimed by the Patriots on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Quarles is a South Carolina product who had 9.5 sacks last season — more than first overall pick Jadaveon Clowney — but he went undrafted this past spring. While in camp with the Giants, the 6-foot-4, 298-pounder suffered an ankle injury, which appeared to set him back a bit. But according to those who watched him, he was still able to compete for a job. He was part of New York’s final cuts on Saturday.

Here are some highlights of his work as a collegian:

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Patriots trade QB Ryan Mallett to Texans

08.31.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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The Patriots have traded quarterback Ryan Mallett to the Texans, per a league source.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Mallett, who was taken in the third round of the 2011 draft out of Arkansas, has served asa backup to Tom Brady for the better part of the last three seasons. In four games, he’s gone 1-for-4 for 17 yards. According to Tania Ganguli of ESPN, the Patriots will get a sixth-round pick in return for Mallett. (It’s known that the two teams were talking about a potential deal for Mallett as early as the spring.)

The Patriots will now likely turn to rookie Jimmy Garoppolo as the primary backup to Brady.

The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

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Patriots sign LB Ja’Gared Davis, RB Jonas Gray to practice squad

08.31.14 at 1:18 pm ET
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Ja'Gared Davis

Ja’Gared Davis

The Patriots started filling their 10-man practice squad on Sunday afternoon with the additions of linebacker Ja’Gared Davis and running back Jonas Gray, according to a league source.

The 5-foot-9, 230-pound Gray, who has been with the Dolphins and Ravens, spent most of the 2013 season on the Ravens practice squad. As a collegian, he totaled 1,100 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 34 games with the Fighting Irish from 2009-2011. He led the Patriots in offensive touches this preseason with a team-high 37 carries.

As for Davis, he’s bounced on and off the Patriots’ practice squad over the last year-plus. The 6-foot, 238-pounder, was originally signed by Houston as a rookie free agent last spring, but was released on Aug. 27. He was signed and released by the Patriots last summer, but added to the practice squad on Sept. 1. He was signed to the 53-man roster the day before the Patriots game at Cincinnati and played on special teams against the Bengals. He was released Oct. 7 and re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 9, where he spent the rest of the season.

Teams have a total of 10 practice squad spots.

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Read More: final cuts,
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