Patriots place Lewis, Vollmer on reserve/PUP to get to 75-man limit

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Patriots place Lewis, Vollmer on reserve/PUP to get to 75-man limit

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were able to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline without making any eye-opening cuts. 

The team placed right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which will make them unavailable for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Patriots also released linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu and offensive lineman Keavon Milton.

Neither Vollmer nor Lewis were expected to be healthy enough to begin the season. By placing them on reserve/PUP, the Patriots are no longer dedicating active roster spots to those players, but they have also kept the option open for one or both to return later in the year. Guard Tre' Jackson was also placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the lone player to remain on active/PUP, meaning he will continue to count against the active roster and can re-join the team to practice at any time.

Ninkovich (triceps), Mitchell (elbow) show progress in practice participation

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Ninkovich (triceps), Mitchell (elbow) show progress in practice participation

FOXBORO -- On the day the Patriots had to trim their roster to 75 players, a few of the absences at the team's practice were a sign of what was to come. 

Tight end Steven Scheu, linebacker Ramon Humber and offensive lineman Keavon Milton were all missing from the session, and it was later announced that all three had been released. Running back Dion Lewis and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer -- both of whom were on the physically unable to perform list going into Tuesday -- were also absent, and they were both placed on reserve/PUP later in the day. 

For Lewis and Vollmer, the reserve/PUP designation means that they will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season but will not count against the roster during that period. Guard Tre' Jackson was placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the only player who remains on active/PUP. He could be activated to practice and play with the team at any time.

Other absences from Tuesday's practice -- the last before Thursday's preseason game with the Giants -- were Cre'Von LeBlanc, Matthew Slater, Shea McClellin and Nate Solder. For Slater, it was the second consecutive practice he missed. 

Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill missed Friday's preseason game with the Panthers and was held out of Mondays practice with an illness, but he was back on the field on Tuesday. 

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich (triceps) and receiver Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) both remained with their teammates for drills following the warm-up period. Their increased participation is an indication that their recoveries are progressing in the right direction. Since suffering their injuries they have consistently headed to a lower practice field for conditioning work following warm-ups, but Tuesday saw that routine change.

Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

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Belichick: 'All the experts in the league' can decide on number of preseason games

FOXBORO -- After Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson went down with a torn Achilles in a recent preseason game, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he wouldn't mind if the league eliminated preseason games. 

"If I had my choice, I'd go none," Harbaugh said. "That might be an extreme point, but we could run scrimmages, or we could run practices against other teams and figure it out. We'd all be in the same boat. That's for people higher up than me to decide."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked on Tuesday afternoon for his thoughts on the value of the preseason. 

"I think I’ll let all the experts in the league decide that," Belichick said. "That’s not really my job. My job is to coach the team. But, I think our joint practices give us extra opportunities to evaluate the team. That’s why we use them.

"I’d say probably almost every team in the league does that. There might be a couple who don’t, but most of them do one, sometimes two. It seems to me like most of the teams want that type play and competition and opportunity rather than less of it. You want to play against somebody else. I don’t know why you wouldn’t schedule a few extra scrimmage days. But, you should talk to the experts about that. That’s not really my . . . we just play by the rules."