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Saturday, November 12, 2011
Patriots sign Ventrone, release Underwood

By Chris Forsberg

The New England Patriots signed safety Ross Ventrone off the practice squad Saturday and released wide receiver/returnman Tiquan Underwood.

Thin at the safety position after both of last week's starters were injured -- Patrick Chung suffered a right foot injury and missed two days of practice this week, leaving him questionable for Sunday's game, while Josh Barrett went on injured reserve -- the team adds depth by bringing Ventrone onto the active roster yet again (he's appeared in four games this season, mostly on special teams, despite the numerous roster moves he's been involved in).

If Chung isn't able to play, the Patriots would have Ventrone, Sergio Brown, and James Ihedigbo for depth. Rookie Sterling Moore, added to the 53-man roster earlier this week, could also see time at safety. (Read more on safety depth, HERE.)

Underwood signed to the active roster on Wednesday, the same day Ventrone re-signed to the practice squad, with potential to give special teams a boost. He's a victim of numbers with the team needing to bulk up at other spots this week due to injuries.

It's interesting to note the Patriots didn't make a move to add an offensive lineman. Rookie tackle Nate Solder was a late addition to the injury report with a concussion. Both he and starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) are questionable for Sunday's game, which has potential to leave the team thin on depth there, especially considering reserve interior lineman Ryan Wendell was limited to one day of practice as he recovers from a concussion and is likewise questionable.

If depth at tackle is an issue, and having released third tight end Dan Gronkowski earlier this week, the Patriots would seemingly be forced away from the three tight-end sets they've used with regularity this season (often employing Solder or another reserve tackle as the third tight end).