- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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Examining the New England Patriots' roster:
Still think Mallett enters the year as the No. 2, giving Garoppolo valuable time to learn behind the scenes.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
Bolden has had a slow start in training camp and wasn't with the team for joint practices with Washington before returning to practice Sunday. But his work on special teams still earns him a spot from this viewpoint.
When he lowered his shoulder to initiate contact on a 13-yard catch-and-run in the preseason opener, it fired up the sideline.
TIGHT ENDS (2)
WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
Looking to see more from Boyce, whose primary value comes as a kickoff returner, a role he wasn't tapped to fill in the preseason opener.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
LT Nate Solder
LT/RT/RG Marcus Cannon
LG Josh Kline
RG Jon Halapio
Solder should be the least of the team's worries, but he struggled in practice last week and then in the preseason opener.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
DT Tommy Kelly
DT Chris Jones
DE Zach Moore
Like the idea of having veteran defensive end Will Smith on the roster, but he's edged out in this scenario for additional depth in the defensive backfield.
Fleming, a third-year player who has some position flexibility to be a backup in an end-of-the-line role as well as an off-the-line role, edges Steve Beauharnais for the final spot. Beauharnais could still stick, possibly over Anderson, but Anderson showed up a bit more in the preseason opener from this viewpoint.
Because Browner is suspended for the first four regular-season games, he won't count against the initial 53-man roster limit. But he is included here because he is obviously a significant part of the team's overall planning for the 2014 season. Butler, an undrafted free agent from West Alabama, earns a roster spot based on his strong performance in the preseason opener.
Veteran Patrick Chung could always come back during the season in the event of injury. With rookie Jemea Thomas (sixth round, Georgia Tech) sustaining an undisclosed injury on the first day of training camp (he returned to practice for the first time Sunday), he is edged out in this scenario by Wilson, who also contributes on special teams. Thomas would be a solid practice-squad candidate.
Aiken handled most of the snapping duties in the preseason opener, and he seems to have the edge right now over undrafted Tyler Ott.
Examining the New England Patriots' roster:QUARTERBACKS (3) Tom Brady Ryan Mallett Jimmy Garoppolo Still think Mallett enters the year as the No.