Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Where will pass rush come from?
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick surprised many by not using a high pick in this year's draft on a pass-rusher. Now he’s informed one of the team’s top rushers, nine-year veteran Tully Banta-Cain, that he will be released.
Although it might look that way on the surface, there is no truth to the rumor that the innovative Belichick is planning to experiment with a rushless defense in 2011.
Actually, Banta-Cain’s spot on the roster was never a certainty, mainly because of economics. His salary ($2.3 million) and cap charge ($4.3 million) didn’t fall in line with his on-field contributions in 2010. So Tuesday's news that Banta-Cain will be released when those moves can become official was far from a shocker; and surely Belichick has a plan on filling the void.
So where do the Patriots go from here at outside linebacker/rush defensive end?
That is likely too thin for Belichick’s liking, and puts added pressure on Cunningham in his second year, which makes it logical to think the Patriots will explore the free-agent market for 3-4 outside linebackers or 4-3 rush ends.