FOXBOROUGH — Jonathan Freeny knows what this time of year is like.
In 2011, the Dolphins signed the linebacker as a free agent following his career at Rutgers. At the end of his first pro camp, Freeny was cut. Miami signed Freeny to its practice squad later that year. He went through the same process as a second-year pro: released and signed to the practice squad.
So with two rounds of cuts coming this week, Freeny understands exactly how stressful the process can be, with just one preseason game remaining.
“Just from experience, I’ve seen guys that went out in the final preseason game, haven’t played that much in the first three games, and they have a good showing,” Freeny said. “They might not make this team. But somebody else might have seen enough to pick them up.
“Any time you get a chance to step out on that field, it’s a résumé for you. So you just go out there and do your best.”
While Freeny advanced past an initial round of cuts Monday, five teammates did not. The Patriots released wide receiver Josh Boyce, wide receiver Jonathan Krause, tight end Jimmay Mundine, defensive lineman Joe Vellano, and linebacker Dekoda Watson. None of them participated in Monday’s practice.
Of the five players, Watson has the most NFL experience. Watson, drafted by Tampa Bay in the seventh round in 2010, has appeared in 70 games for the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Jaguars. The Patriots signed Watson as a free agent May 12.
The Patriots have 79 players remaining in camp. They must reduce their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The players will have one final audition in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Giants at Gillette Stadium. By 4 p.m. on Saturday, teams must trim their rosters to 53 players.
Bill Belichick acknowledged there were moving parts involved in Tuesday’s deadline, meaning players could be saying goodbye via trade or release.
“Everyone’s out here giving it everything they have to try and be on this team,” said defensive back Devin McCourty. “The roster has to be cut down, so it’s always tough. One of the best things is always some of the friendships you make with guys. So it’s always tough to see guys leave.”
Regarding the fight for jobs in camp, Belichick referred to the early part of Troy Brown’s career. While Brown considered himself a long shot as an NFLer, his job was to make roster decisions hard for Bill Parcells.
“I want to make his job tough for him to cut me,” Belichick recalled of Brown’s approach. “There have been a number of guys who have done that this year in preseason. They’ve taken that phrase that Troy used and they’ve done that. They’ve forced us to make some hard decisions because of how competitively they’ve played.”
Not a routine start
The Patriots open the regular season against Pittsburgh on Thursday, Sept. 10. Such is their privilege after winning the Super Bowl. But a three-day head start on the rest of the league is disrupting their normal routine. “Glad we’re playing that game,” Belichick said. “There’s a good reason for us playing it, so that’s good. But it definitely complicates things on a number of levels. It’s the way it is.” . . . Running back Travaris Cadet is on the roster bubble. The 26-year-old free agent did not play Friday against Carolina. “I’m just coming out with the same mind-set I had,” Cadet said. “Never getting complacent, always feeling like I’ve got something to prove to myself and this team, and try to gain the trust of my teammates and my coaches and be somebody they can rely on in any situation.” . . . The Patriots held a brief walkthrough Monday morning. They are scheduled for a longer afternoon practice Tuesday . . . Also absent for the start of Monday’s practice: FB James Develin, OL Chris Barker, QB Tom Brady, DL Chris Jones, WR Brandon LaFell, DB Darryl Roberts, and OL Bryan Stork.