Titans are watching the Patriots closely

Jul 28, 2016; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Ted Karras (75) takes the field for training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Ted Karras (75) takes the field for training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

If you have heard it once, you have heard it one thousand times: Jon Robinson is doing a lot of the things he learned from Bill Belichick when he was with the New England Patriots.

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Look at moves like trading the 1st pick in the draft and finding great value players like DeMarco Murray (swapped 4ths), Ben Jones (just the 12th highest paid center), Rishard Matthews (31st highest paid receiver), and Tajae Sharpe (5th round pick). Moves like that have exemplified the Patriots over the last 10 years.

Jon Robinson understands this, and he has also talked about something else that the Patriots do a lot of and that is churning the bottom of the roster. What that means, is really the bottom six(ish) players of the roster are constantly cut, re-signed, put on practice squad, etc. to make room for outside talent they think can help them win on a week to week basis.

They do this at the most heartless times if they think it can give them an edge at all. On Christmas last year, they cut Asante Cleveland. During the 2011 season they cut Tiquan Underwood just a day before the Super Bowl! Anything for an edge.

You can bet that the Titans are looking ahead towards the waiver wire and harshly grading the players on the bottom of the roster to see if they can find upgrades after that final cut.

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  • That takes me to Mike Lyoko, who is an editor and extensively covers the New England Patriots here. It is rare to find anyone on Twitter with a better concept of what the Patriots will do than Lyoko, which makes it exceptionally interesting when you see his new 53-man roster projection.

    In there, he has a list of guys that he believes the Patriots will try to cut and slip onto the practice squad. However, to do that he will have to get them by the Titans and their top priority on the waiver wire.

    So, here are the players he lists there and my take on them:

    RB Tyler Gaffney

    A high risk player who has been injured off and on for the last three years, Gaffney has been a standout at camp and many think that Belichick sees something special in him by the attention that he has shown him. Jon Robinson was with the Patriots when they claimed him off waivers from the Carolina Panthers, so if they cut him we could see if Robinson shares that same affection.

    RB D.J. Foster

    An UDFA from this year’s class, there is no reason why he should stick out based on anything I have seen yet.

    TE Bryce Williams

    Now this is a sneaky player. A 6’6″ tight end who earned a draftable grade by most in the online scouting community, there is a lot to like with Bryce Williams. While he is a little bit undersized he runs nice routes and is a walk-on/try-hard guy, which is exactly what the Titans want on their team.

    If they still want to carry four tight ends, and they feel like Phil Supernaw isn’t going to make the cut then they could look here.

    WR Chris Harper

    Another sneaky possible signing here. The Patriots promoted and demoted Harper throughout the year last year, but it looks like they viewed him as a player with a special teams/slot wide receiver role on the team. When Julian Edelman went down, they immediately brought him up to fill the void.

    If the Titans feel like getting rid of a veteran like Harry Douglas or Andre Johnson for some reason, then this could be the guy they replace him with to help back up the injury prone Kendall Wright in the slot. However, I don’t see them cutting one of those other guys for him.

    WR DeAndre Carter

    I don’t see it with Carter on this team.

    IOL Ted Karras

    Maybe the guy most likely to be a Titan. An interior offensive lineman that can play either guard and who is known as a huge effort guy. He is also apparently a true “loves football” guy which is something all coaches and GMs want in a player.

    Look at what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had to say about him in his draft report:

    “Karras is limited by his lack of functional athleticism, but his technique combined with moderate body control gives him a chance to fight for a roster spot with a power-­based running game looking for tough guys. “

    Looks like a perfect fit to me.

    DT Anthony Johnson

    I don’t see it with how deep the Titans are on the defensive line.

    LB/ST Elandon Roberts

    I don’t see him as a fit with as many of these guys as the Titans already have.

    CB Cre’Von LeBlanc

    I haven’t seen him, but based on what I have read he is a slot CB who can play special teams too. This team needs a backup guy in the slot, and if he gets edged out by a special teams star like Nate Ebner in New England then the Titans could take a flier on him.

    CB Jonathan Jones

    A slot cornerback who also has experience on special teams. Like LeBlanc, Jones could be a fit on this team depending on what Robinson hears about him from guys he knows in the Patriots organization.

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    And that is it, those are all the players listed. It will be interesting to track these guys down if they are released and see if any of them are claimed by the Titans.