Do Patriots' D-line moves signal shift?

July, 30, 2011
7/30/11
12:18
AM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Defensive lineman Ty Warren has been with the Patriots since 2003, and this is the first time he's felt such a dramatic shift. The defense he's known was changing and he didn't see himself fitting.

So, no, he wasn't surprised by the team releasing him Friday. The bigger surprise was the schematic changes that were unfolding in meeting rooms and on the field.

"I think it looks like they're trying to get away from the 3-4," Warren said of the base alignment that has been a Patriots staple since early in coach Bill Belichick's Patriots tenure.

"When I heard about the different defensive deals they're going to be doing, I didn't see me in that big picture of things, or at least not a huge role in that deal. Then there were the acquisitions they made [Albert Haynesworth], which made it even more [likely]."

Such a change, if that truly is Belichick's intention, would signal a major shift in core defensive philosophy. Instead of the base 3-4 alignment, which the Patriots utilized in 40 percent of the defensive snaps in 2010, they could line up in a more traditional four-man front with Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork in the middle. Good luck to the interior offensive line that has to deal with that duo.

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Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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