Patriots' decision to cut O'Connell peculiar

Tom Brady's shoulder must really be passable.

Kevin O'Connell, on the other hand, is not.

ESPN.com's John Clayton reports the New England Patriots informed O'Connell they've released him.

O'Connell has had a lousy preseason, completing 12 of 26 passes for 108 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He had a 25.8 passer rating.

But the move is curious on many levels:

  • Brady hurt his throwing shoulder two days ago. Releasing O'Connell underscores the belief Brady will be fine to open the regular season, but the minor injury had to be a reminder of how the backup always is one play away from taking over the offense.

  • Giving up on a highly drafted quarterback so soon is rare. The Patriots drafted O'Connell out of San Diego State in the third round last year, making him the 94th overall selection. Sixteen months later, he's unemployed.

  • The Patriots can't be comfortable with Andrew Walter yet. The Oakland Raiders cut Walter four weeks ago, and the Patriots picked him up a few days later to push O'Connell. Walter has thrown only nine passes this preseason and none over the past two games. He played only one series Friday night against the Washington Redskins, handing off twice. Walter has completed 5 of 9 passes for 62 yards.

  • The other quarterback on the depth chart is unproven, although undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer has had a decent preseason. He has completed 11 of 19 passes for 112 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.