- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After totaling just 6.5 combined sacks during the 2010 regular season, defensive ends Andre Carter and Mark Anderson arrived to the Patriots last offseason with modest expectations.
Like guard Brian Waters, they proved to be among the shrewdest of additions by Bill Belichick, as each played a large role in the Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLVI.
Belichick has a history of maximizing low-profile veteran additions via free agency, and it appears as though linebacker Bobby Carpenter could become a candidate to add to that list for 2012.
Carpenter, formerly a first round pick in 2006 of the Cowboys, found himself on three different teams within a five-month span in 2010, before settling in with the Lions the last two seasons.
When asked about Carpenter on Thursday, Belichick praised his versatility.
“Bobby’s been here all spring, he’s worked hard. Good athlete, runs well, smart guy, has some experience. [He] has done some different things in his career, played inside, played outside, played in the sub, played in the kicking game. He’s been a pretty versatile player in a couple of different organizations,” Belichick said. “He’s fit in well, he’s done a nice job. We’ve asked him to do some different things, and he mentally, physically, experience-wise looks pretty comfortable doing those. I think he’s in a good position to go to camp, we’ll see what happens in training camp.”
Versatility has been a staple of Carpenter’s career, and Belichick notes that he although Carpenter played primarily in the Lions’ sub defense during the 2011 season, he also earned snaps in their regular defense as well.
He added that the 28-year old has experience as a middle linebacker, a strongside linebacker, a weakside linebacker, and has aligned both on and off the line of scrimmage, working in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense.
In New England, it appears that Carpenter has already been asked to take on a number of roles, and Belichick believes that has not been an issue, saying of Carpenter, “he’s smart, so learning hasn’t really been a problem. He’s been able to handle multiple responsibilities so far."
Carpenter told reporters on Thursday that versatility is a trait that is shared by several of his defensive teammates.
"We’ve got a lot of different guys on this team that can do a lot of different things. I think they’re going to try to take advantage of that,” he said. “They’re moving guys around, doing all kinds of different stuff. Whatever the coaches can scheme up and find that fits our talents best, that’s probably what we’ll do, hopefully it’ll work pretty well.”
For now, Carpenter is focused on preparing for training camp, which he will do back in Columbus, Ohio, where his family resides.
“Talent is not required to get in shape and for conditioning. All it takes is hard work, and you’ve got to come out everyday and produce it. No coaching gets you in shape, no amount of extrinsic motivation, it all has to be intrinsic motivators. You have to come out every day trying to get in shape for the next five weeks. Know what it takes to get your body in shape and your body ready, and (you) will obviously reap the rewards of that come training camp.”