Catching up with former Patriots

(Every Wednesday, we'll lead off the day with a look at some notable former Patriots and their production. This is who we will be following at the start of the season.)

LB Brandon Spikes (Bills) -- After signing a one-year deal in Buffalo as a free-agent in the offseason, he was named a team captain for 2014. He is the projected starter at middle linebacker and is wearing No. 51.

RB LeGarrette Blount (Steelers) -- Veteran running back inked a two-year deal in Pittsburgh and has already been in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

CB Aqib Talib (Broncos) -- Signed a lucrative free-agent deal in Denver, as the Broncos took things to a financial level in which the Patriots weren't comfortable going.

G Logan Mankins (Buccaneers) -- The unexpected trade last Tuesday has generated excitement among Buccaneers players as he naturally slides into a top role immediately.

LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) -- Much like he was in New England, Fletcher serves a backup role at middle linebacker and will make his main mark on special teams.

DL Tommy Kelly (Cardinals) -- Veteran hooked on quickly after he was released by the Patriots and could play significant snaps in Arizona.

QB Ryan Mallett (Texans) -- Traded to Houston on Sunday, the four-year veteran is slated to hold the backup job behind Ryan Fitzpatrick ... for now.

QB Brian Hoyer (Browns) -- Has been named the starter for the season opener, and how long he holds the job will be closely watched with Johnny Manziel waiting in the wings.

QB Matt Cassel (Vikings) -- Won the starting job over late first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater.

LB Jeff Tarpinian (Texans) -- Former undrafted free agent from Iowa once again made the Texans' roster and is a backup on defense to Brian Cushing.

WR Greg Salas (Jets) -- Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg recently said he has confidence in Salas, who backs up Eric Decker.

WR Wes Welker (Broncos) -- Veteran receiver is suspended for the first four games for using amphetamines.

RB Danny Woodhead (Chargers) -- After a big season in 2013, the Chargers rewarded him with a contract extension.

TE Daniel Fells (Giants) -- Veteran has made the Giants' initial roster after not playing in 2013 after being released by the Patriots.