New England Patriots Back-end of Roster Moves Highlight Their Weaknesses

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Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears guard Ryan Groy (79) against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The trade of linebacker Matthew Wells by the New England Patriots to the Chicago Bears netted the Patriots guard Ryan Groy. With expected starter Ryan Wendell on the physically unable to perform list and fellow 2014 starter Dan Connolly retired, the Patriots suddenly have a gaping hole at the position. With starting center Bryan Stork dinged up and missing a few practices, AFC Championship game starter Josh Kline slid over to the center position.

With Kline at center and tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon injured, the Patriots offensive line sported second year tackle Cameron Fleming at right tackle and rookies Shaquille Mason and Tre’ Jackson lining up at guard. With undrafted rookie free agent David Andrews as depth at center and unproven Jordan Devey and Chris Barker backing up at guard, the depth chart was thin.

Groy started three games for the Bears last year and gives the team another player with NFL experience at a position short on that experience. Last season saw the guard position struggle with Wendell at center as Stork and Connolly were injured. Jordan Devey was terrible in limited playing time and moving tackles to guard was a good idea on paper that did not play out well on the field.

The trade for Groy shows that Belichick is not particularly impressed with the rookies at guard. While Mason and Jackson have held their own to an extent, expecting both to step in and start is a recipe for disaster. Groy may not make the team when the veterans return, but for the preseason he can help keep the quarterbacks upright.