Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Who's left on the defensive line?
By Mike Reiss
On Monday, the Patriots officially placed defensive end Ron Brace on season-ending injured reserve (elbow), suspended rookie defensive end Brandon Deaderick, and worked out four free agents at the position.
Of all the positions on the roster, the line is the most depleted entering the playoffs.
Here is a re-set of the personnel based on depth chart/health:
Vince Wilfork -- The seven-year veteran is the leader of the group and his versatility has been key in helping the team absorb losses in recent weeks.
Gerard Warren -- A 10-year veteran, he has been a solid addition to the club, playing in all 16 games, with 10 starts. In the 3-4 alignment, he's likely to be starting the playoff opener at left end.
Kyle Love -- The rookie free agent out of Mississippi State started the season finale and played most of the game at nose tackle in the 3-4 alignment. Given the depleted situation on the line, he is now a key player in the rotation.
Eric Moore -- Signed to a two-year deal Dec. 3, his best fit is at end in the 4-3 alignment, as he is best cast in the outside linebacker/defensive end role. Moore did play 3-4 end against Buffalo, but it's hard to imagine the Patriots using him in that role against a team like the Ravens or Jets.
Myron Pryor -- Mostly utilized as an interior sub rusher, Pryor has also lined up at nose tackle and end in the 3-4. In the finale, he returned from a back injury that sidelined him 7 games, but he left in the third quarter with an eye injury.
Mike Wright -- Six-year veteran is the team's leading sacker (5.5) but he's been sidelined with a concussion for the final six games of the season.
Landon Cohen -- Signed to a two-year contract Dec. 22, he has been employed as an interior rusher in sub packages. He is not a natural fit in the 3-4 alignment and would be an emergency option in that role.