A New England Patriots helmet rests on the side line during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots sign Matt Stankiewitch, Mike Zupancic

The New England Patriots re-signed two undrafted free agent players they previously released during training camp, and they are now back to 90 men on the roster after the movements of Elvis Fisher and Lavasier Tuinei created two holes. Stankiewitch was released at the beginning of camp due to an injury, and the former Penn State Nittany Lions star interior offensive lineman was reportedly expected to re-sign once healthy. Stankiewitch is healthy now, and he seems like the perfect Bill Belichick kind of player. Meanwhile, Mike Zupancic was also re-signed, and he is competition for Danny Aiken as the Patriots long snapper, and it will be interesting to see if Zupancic can upend Aiken.

Stankiewitch is the most notable of the two re-signings, because he has a chance to crack the practice squad and even the 53-man roster. The Patriots definitely surprised me by releasing Nick McDonald, and I bet there is either something else to that story or the Patriots are planning on re-signing McDonald as well once he is healthy. McDonald has been suffering from a shoulder injury, and the Patriots didn’t release a top, versatile backup at a position that is thin for no reason.

At Penn State, Stankiewitch earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best centers in college football, and that is due to his relentless style of play. Not an athletic player with good physical tools, Stankiewitch makes up for it with a real nasty streak as a run blocker, and that overcomes his struggles as a pass blocker. Stankiewitch is the type of hard worker who fits in New England, and his ability to play at center or guard (better at center, which hurts him a tad since Ryan Wendell is locked in) gives him that slim chance of making the Patriots roster.

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Tags: Matt Stankiewitch Mike Zupancic New England Patriots NFL Offseason

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