New England Patriots: 3 biggest surprises from 2022 final roster

New England Patriots cornerback Justin Bethel (29) Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots cornerback Justin Bethel (29) Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New England Patriots 2022 training camp and preseason play was a bit of a mixed bag. While the defense looked good for long stretches of camp, the offense appeared to be struggling to adapt to a new system after Josh McDaniels’ departure this past offseason.

Training camp is now in the rearview mirror with the 53-man roster set, and the Patriots are hoping their roster as currently constructed will be able to lead them to the postseason for the second straight year. With the roster now set, let’s take a look at the three biggest surprises from New England’s initial 53-man roster.

New England Patriots roster surprise No. 3: Justin Bethel doesn’t make the cut

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has always been a fan of special teams throughout his coaching career, so he must have been overjoyed when he was able to pick up Justin Bethel as a free agent midway through the 2019 season. Bethel teamed up with Matthew Slater to give New England arguably the most dominant special teams duo in the NFL.

Nobody really thought Bethel’s spot was in jeopardy entering training camp, but it became clear pretty quickly that there were some serious competitors for Bethel’s roster spot. Still, he seemed to hold the inside track for a roster spot given his veteran status and Pro Bowl pedigree as a special teamer.

When roster cuts came, though, Bethel found himself without a job, as he ended up getting beat by Brenden Schooler for the final special teams spot. It was surprising to see Bethel lose his job during training camp, although it must mean that Belichick and his staff are high on Schooler and the rest of his special teams unit, which is somewhat encouraging.