The New England Patriots wasted no time filling out their practice squad Sunday, adding many of the players they released during Saturday’s cuts.
Fifteen of the team’s 16 practice-squad players were present at practice Sunday, all of them familiar faces. Kickers Nick Folk and Justin Rohrwasser have re-signed after being the most notable casualties on cutdown day. The Patriots do not have a kicker on their active roster and could theoretically promote Folk or Rohrwasser to their 55-man game day roster every weekend.
Offensively, the Patriots brought back running back J.J. Taylor, fullback Paul Quessenberry, wide receivers Devin Ross and Isaiah Zuber and tight end Jake Burt. Taylor and Ross were among the closest cutdown calls for the Patriots, who opted to keep just four running backs and five wideouts. Taylor finished training camp on a high note, while Ross was one of the most productive receivers at its start.
Defensively, linemen Xavier Williams, Nick Thurman, Bill Murray and Rashod Berry were back on the field, along with linebackers Cassh Maluia and Terez Hall and cornerbacks D’Angelo Ross and Myles Bryant. Williams, Maluia and Bryant should be considered the top candidates to see game action this season following their impressive training camp performances.
The Patriots signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Mason Kinsey to be the final member of their practice squad. The Division III product was released by the Titans earlier this summer. Kinsey also caught punts in Tennessee and projects as a slot receiver.
The first thing N’Keal Harry noticed about Cam Newton wasn’t his towering size, shining smile or charisma. It was the fact his new quarterback beat him into the building.
“Looking from outside and you never really know how a player conducts himself. And once I got around him, I figured out how hard he works and the amount of time and effort he puts into this,” Harry said. “You can tell he really cares about perfecting his craft. And he takes all this very seriously.”
According to multiple players, Newton beats almost everyone into the building every morning. After practice Sunday, Harry added he’s never seen Newton leave Gillette Stadium right after the players’ work day is over. Instead, Newton is consistently logging longer days to maximize the little time left before the season opener against Miami.
Most of the stories surrounding Newton to date have highlighted his fun-loving nature, which was evident every day at practice. Behind closed doors, he’s proven to teammates he loves their shared work just as much.
“He just tries to make sure we’re loose out there, make sure all of us are having fun because we all know this is a business. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to be loose,” Harry said. “We got to have fun out there, we got to really enjoy what we’re doing. So I think that’s what he brings to the field, and we’ve been feeling the energy.”
Veteran wide receiver Damiere Byrd is no stranger to cutdown day, having entered the league as an undrafted free agent, then spending time on a practice squad.
While the former Panthers and Cardinals receiver wasn’t squarely on the bubble, he nonetheless worked to get his mind off the 4 p.m. roster deadline Saturday. He’s not only happy to have made the 53-man roster, but to still be in a welcoming locker room he’s come to appreciate.
“There’s a bunch of high-character guys in here,” Byrd said Sunday. “And you hear that coming in, but when you get here, it really shows just the leadership and how close knit everybody is.”
Running back Damien Harris and wide receiver Gunner Olszewski were again absent at practice. Defensive lineman Beau Allen was the only other player missing.
All three players were out for most, if not all, practices this week. Allen is a prime candidate to be placed on injured reserve, which would open a roster spot. Harris’ status for Week 1 is in doubt after it was reported he underwent surgery on his pinkie.
Without Harris, the Patriots are down to Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White at running back. The Patriots have four wide receivers without Olszewski.

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