Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/4/11

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Bill Parcells used to love to try to get the best 53 players on his roster. So constantly tweaking the bottom of the roster was a usual habit. Bill Belichick brought the same philosophy to New England and used it effectively to win three super bowls. However, when is enough is enough?

Hines Ward stated that he felt the Pittsburg Steelers didn’t need him against the Patriots secondary. Now that’s a slap in the face, but his statement was accurate to say the least. Ward said without James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather, and Leigh Bodden that the Patriots defensive backfield wasn’t the same or as good.

Belichick is the master of the transaction and everyone remembers Hank Poteat and his many stays from 2004-2005. We have a joke that Belichick has a room at the Red Fox Motel in Foxboro to stash a player or two and keep them around and cut them when he’s done.

However, in the past few years Belichick has gone higher on the roster purging, almost at any position and regardless of time. The cuts have become more drastic and seem to come at crucial times. This past September, Belichick cut James Sanders, Jonathan Wilhite, Darius Butler and Brandon Meriweather. That’s over half the secondary, and he did it a week before the season. During the bye, he cut Leigh Bodden, another defensive back. Now that’s not churning, that is straight cutting to the bone.

He replaced those players with Antwuan Molden, Josh Barrett, James Idhegibo and Phillip Adams. Even the federal witness protection program would have a hard time hiding their flaws. Molden said it's communication that is troubling the secondary. We suppose that’s what happens when a secondary is uprooted in the middle of the season.

Why is Belichick so unhappy with the very same players he picked, to a degree to have a mass position cleansing? Why did cutting Bodden during a bye seem so drastic?  It may be because it’s getting more severe each time. Now we’re not saying he was cutting Pro-bowlers, but could they have been better than who is here now? We think the statistics tell the story. In 2010, the Patriots had the 32nd pass ranked defense. In 2011, they have the 32nd pass defense again. So where is all this cutting helping? Or is a bigger problem that it has spun out of control.

When you’re tweaking a few bottom roster spots, that’s one thing, but when your cutting frontline players during the season, it will come back to haunt the Patriots, as proof in the Pittsburg game.

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