The New England Patriots have re-signed outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter in lieu of the recent hamstring injury suffered by rookie Sam linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Carpenter was released on the first day of the month and was worked out by the Kansas City Chiefs a few days later after being a surprise cut from the Pats.
One of the best coverage linebackers in the league in sub-packages, Carpenter re-invented himself in the league with the Pats in a niche role as a coverage LB. Quick enough to shut down running backs, he was expected to hold a valuable sub-package role for the team in the offseason.
If Hightower is unable to play against the Denver Broncos, then Carpenter will be receiving more snaps against the run than the Pats will like. Even though he is a useful player and can cover, the reason why Carpenter is known as a bust out of Ohio State is for his terrible work in run defense. With other teams, Carpenter was constantly criticized for his inability and, seemingly, his unwillingness to hit opponents.
Let’s hope that Hightower’s injury is nothing significant, but Carpenter is a solid insurance acquisition and is much better as a down linebacker than Tracy White. It will be interesting to see how long the Patriots end up keeping him on the roster.
I’m not going to lie, I have a soft spot for busts who have turned into niche players. In other words, Carpenter is one of my favorite players in the league.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.