The Patriots had two major moves that will have an impact on the roster. First, they placed DE Ty Warren on injured reserve (IR), thus ending his season. Warren injured his hip the third practice of training camp and never returned to the field. He will have to have surgery on his hip. Losing Ty is a blow to the defensive line. The veteran has been a stalwart at defensive end and solid against the running game and the passing game, providing some pressure off the end. The Patriots are in a much better position to weather the storm of losing Warren this year than they were last year when Warren was injured. The top player to replace Ty Warren is Gerard Warren, who was signed right after the draft concluded. Bill Belichick had the following to say about G. Warren:
“Gerard has worked really hard. I think he’s shown a lot of improvement. He was a good player to begin with, but the thing with Gerard is that he’s never really played in a system like this, in Cleveland, Denver and Oakland. Technique-wise and from a system standpoint, he was asked to do things differently than the way we do them.
“I think he’s made the transition pretty well. I think he will have a good ability to contribute for us this year based on what I’ve seen so far.”
The Patriots also have another veteran lineman in camp that can contribute in Damione Lewis. Lewis has good size (6’2″, 301) and could provide a sturdy body to give G. Warren a rest. Lewis may also play at the other end spot on running downs after watching Mike Wright get pushed back by the Saints offensive linemen. The Pats may also have to ask more out of last year’s rookie surprise Myron Pryor and this year’s rookies Kade Weston and Brandon Deaderick. The loss of Warren (the “Ty” one) also adds to the disappointment in last year’s second-round pick Ron Brace. Brace has not participated in practice yet after reportedly not passing his conditioning test. Brace could have been in practice getting reps and possibly the chance to start in place of Ty. Hopefully he can pass the test and get his 330 lb. frame into practice.
The second move the Patriots made today was reinstating DE/OLB Derrick Burgess. Burgess was contemplating retirement but has since reported to the team (conveniently after two-a-days ended). Burgess should help boost the pass rush off the edge for the team. Burgess should be lining up primarily at OLB. He likely would not play DE unless the team was in a four-man front. Burgess joined the team late last summer and took a while to acclimate to the Patriots’ schemes. He started to improve late in the season and ended with 5 sacks. Hopefully, despite missing camp, can continue that progress.
“He has a good understanding of his opponents, pass-rush technique, and how to defeat blockers and how specifically to defeat individual blockers based on their strengths and weaknesses and how he matches up against them,” Belichick said.
“He played primarily in a 4-3 defense in Philadelphia and Oakland, and in our defense he played some of that position but also some as a 3-4 outside linebacker type. That’s a little different compared to what he has done. I think this year, based on the spring and the workouts we had in May and June, I think he’s really a lot further ahead in understanding what we do and our terminology and techniques and so forth than he was at this time last year.
“Derrick is really a pretty versatile player. I think he can do some different things and he can do them pretty well. We’ll build on what we did in the spring and see where it goes.”
Let’s hope so.