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OXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ decision to part ways with third-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell on Monday appears to be a situation where the club waited as long as it felt it could for his knee to reach a point where both were comfortable before making a roster move. Time just ran out.

Until Mitchell practiced regularly, his place on the team’s depth chart was questionable. The receiver position has been one of the top stories of training camp as the Patriots transition without Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks, and plan for life without Julian Edelman for the first four games.
The Patriots decided to cut ties with Malcolm Mitchell, who has been unable to come back from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season. Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Here are some of my thoughts on the way the depth chart looks:

Edelman (5-foot-10, 198 pounds): The clear-cut No. 1 option, he has been hard on himself for a few drops in practice and said this past Friday that his legs aren’t yet where they need to be as he returns from a torn ACL that cost him the 2017 season.

Chris Hogan (6-1, 210): He has usually aligned opposite Edelman in the two-receiver set and has also taken some punt returns. Given his familiarity with Tom Brady, he figures to be leaned on a bit more during Edelman’s absence.

Phillip Dorsett (5-10, 192): He’s been one of the notable performers of the first 10 practices — at times breaking off to a second field with Brady and a few others — and it’s hard to imagine him not on the initial 53-man roster at this point. His versatility to align in all the spots adds to his value and he’s clearly more comfortable in 2018 after having a full offseason with the Patriots.

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It has been over two years since T.J. Yates has thrown a touchdown pass in the NFL. The last time he did, Yates threw two touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins when the Texans faced the New York Jets on Nov. 22, 2015.

Some things never change.

Yates once again stepped up as a backup quarterback, something the veteran quarterback has done often for Houston since his 2011 NFL debut. During Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Tom Savage left the game with a concussion and Yates took over with 2:32 left in the second quarter.

On his first series, Yates was 4-of-6 for 54 yards, adding a 15-yard scramble for a first down. Hopkins had a catch-and-run for a 25-yard gain deep in San Francisco territory. On the next play, Yates found Hopkins for a 7-yard touchdown pass to cap off the nine-play, 75-yard drive.

“Obviously, getting into the game that’s the guy I am going to be looking for,” Yates said. “That’s a guy I’ve been throwing to before in my career. I’ve worked with him before so I have a good rapport with him. It’s a good idea to get him the ball as much as possible. That was the main focus just trying to get me comfortable and just get me going by trying to find him.”

On the Texans opening drive of the second half, Yates connected with Hopkins on a 29-yard touchdown pass to give Houston a 16-13 lead in the third quarter. Despite orchestrating scoring drives on his first two offensive series, Yates was unable to maintain his early success with Hopkins as the Texans fell 26-16 to San Francisco.

“Obviously, they started to take DeAndre away as much as possible,” Yates said. “We got back to making those mistakes that were killing us whether it was passes dropped, turnovers, stuff just kind of not going our way. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping that momentum we had at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half just to keep it rolling.”

Yates completed 14-of-26 passes (53.8%) for 175 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 100.6 passer rating. He also ran for 31 yards on three carries (10.3 avg.).

With the loss, the Texans fall to 4-9 on the season and will next face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road in Week 15.

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Game: Texans vs. 49ers

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