Following up on Phillip Adams

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
2:15
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Patriots released cornerback Phillip Adams on Tuesday, the feeling here was that it was a surprise.

The Patriots are thin at cornerback and Adams had played 51 snaps in Sunday's win over the Eagles -- in the slot, and then moving outside when Antwaun Molden was knocked out of the game in the second half. Given his extended work and the short-handed situation, it was natural to wonder why the team would simply release Adams.

The picture became a bit clearer today with the Patriots making a 1 for 1 swap -- Adams out and veteran defensive back Nate Jones in. As one surprised player said, "They must have come back, watched the tape, and not liked what they saw."

Sometimes it's that simple.

If the Patriots felt Adams' upside warranted keeping him on the roster, they probably would have shown a bit more patience. But Bill Belichick is always turning over the back end of the roster in hopes of improvement, and he must view Jones as an an overall upgrade when factoring in defense, versatility and special teams.

Adams played on two special teams units (kickoff return, punt return) and wasn't a huge factor in the kicking game. Meanwhile, that's an area Jones has made his biggest mark (59 career tackles).

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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