Analysis: Dowling to injured reserve

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
4:19
PM ET
Analysis from the Patriots' decision to place rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling on season-ending injured reserve, while activating running back Kevin Faulk and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick off the physically unable to perform list:

The move with Dowling adds new context to the release of veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden. The Patriots are thin at corner with Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams.

They could use Bodden, so the release now has shades of a Lawyer Milloy-like move where the Patriots take a hit in the short-term, but Bill Belichick preserves something bigger picture from a "this is what's best for the team" standpoint. It adds credence to the possibility that Belichick didn't view Bodden as being "all-in," and by putting him on the field, he might have felt he was sending mixed messages to other players.

As for Faulk, his work in pass protection should be an upgrade, especially with pressure-based defenses (Steelers, Giants, Jets) next on the schedule. He figures to cut into Danny Woodhead's playing time.

Deaderick adds depth at left defensive end and defensive tackle, as his presence should help lighten the load on Vince Wilfork.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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