New England Patriots depth linebacker Dane Fletcher tore his ACL before the 2012 season and was out for the rest of the year, and that cut down the Pats depth at the linebacker position. Fletcher is a solid backup LB in this league, and he is also a key special teamer. However, the Pats were able to deal without him due to one of the best starting linebacker trios in the NFL in Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Dont’a Hightower. Fletcher, however, will be needed next season as depth, because an injury to Spikes could really be a game-changer for this defense even in just one game. Fletcher is better than the guys currently behind the starters on the depth chart, and we saw in the one game Spikes was out that the run defense takes a huge hit without him on the field.
Dane Fletcher told the Boston Herald, “I’m going to fully take care of this thing. I’ll get a full offseason in and training camp, at least in my own mind.”
The 26-year-old out of Montana State is a restricted free agent, and he will almost certainly be back for the Patriots in 2013 and kept at a solid-round tender during the RFA period by the Pats. Fletcher is a valuable source of depth, but it will be interesting to see if Fletcher can return in time for OTAs in April in order to get a “full offseason”.
We can only hope for the best in Fletcher’s continued recovery, and he is a valuable depth piece to this team. He isn’t a game-changing player or one of the best backups in the NFL, but he is a solid backup at the linebacker position and has the ability to also make his presence felt on special teams.
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