Following up on the Patriots' OLBs

June, 16, 2010
6/16/10
9:35
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots will be back on the practice field today for the second day of mandatory minicamp (10:45-12:30), and one of the top on-field questions remains at outside linebacker.

The team is experimenting with different things on defense, and one thought came to mind when watching Tuesday's practice: Derrick Burgess appears to be a significant part of the planning at the position.

When the Patriots went through a drill that had their base 3-4 defense on the field, Burgess was lined up opposite Pierre Woods at outside linebacker. This is a change from last year, when Burgess was utilized mostly as a sub rusher.

When the Patriots signed Burgess to a one-year contract that included a base salary of $1.4 million and a $100,000 signing bonus, it could have easily been viewed as a depth type of move.

But based on the few practices that media members have observed in recent weeks, Burgess appears to be positioned to be more than a depth player at this point. He could be right there on the front line, playing alongside Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Meriweather and Co -- not as a sub rusher but as an outside linebacker.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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