Cole helps cause for roster spot

August, 25, 2012
TAMPA -- Patriots followers might be wise to get familiar with cornerback Marquice Cole.

The little-known former New York Jet, in his first season with the Patriots, earned praise from coach Bill Belichick the day after the team's 30-28 loss to the Buccaneers.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Cole played primarily in the slot Friday night and was credited with two passes defended. He also had a special teams tackle, while playing on the kickoff coverage unit and also as a gunner on the punt team.

In his day-after conference call Saturday afternoon, coach Bill Belichick was asked about the four-year veteran from Northwestern.

"I think he did a number of good things, as he has the whole preseason," Belichick said. "He made plays in the kicking game and made plays on defense."

Cole was a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Jets didn't tender him a contract. That made him an unrestricted free agent and the Patriots signed him to a one-year deal with a $615,000 base salary on March 19. The contract included a $25,000 signing bonus and $10,000 workout bonus, making it one of the more modest deals consummated by the team this past offseason.

At this point, it's looking like a bargain, as Cole has made a strong case for a roster spot.

He'd project as a front-line special teamer on the 46-man game-day roster, while providing depth at cornerback. If the Patriots keep Cole, as it appears they will, it could put the squeeze on seventh-round draft choice Alfonzo Dennard, who made his preseason debut Friday and played later in the game.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?