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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Patriots safeties & Page possibility

By Mike Reiss

AP Photo/Steve MitchellSafety Jarrad Page (44) celebrates last season with Patrick Chung.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have had a run of injuries at safety, with Josh Barrett placed on season-ending injured reserve last week and Patrick Chung missing Sunday's win over the Jets (right foot). This has thinned their depth.

On Wednesday, an unexpected opportunity to bolster the ranks came to the forefront with the Eagles releasing Jarrad Page. A six-year veteran, Page played in New England last season.

Whether the Patriots seriously consider bringing back Page is an unknown at this early point. With this in mind, here are some general thoughts:

The Patriots thought enough of Page to tender him at the second-round level as a restricted free agent in the old collective bargaining agreement (after the 2010 season). But when the new CBA was struck, Page became an unrestricted free agent and the sides went their different ways. It's unclear why, as Page didn't break the bank in Philadelphia on a one-year deal.

Page started five games for the Eagles this season, then was demoted. In New England last year, he was a reserve, playing about 20 percent of the defensive snaps (sub packages) while also factoring into the special teams mix. If Page came back to New England, his role would likely be similar.

The Patriots currently have Chung, James Ihedigbo, Sterling Moore and Sergio Brown on the safety depth chart, and Chung's injury isn't expected to keep him out much longer. Chung is the top player in the group.

Meanwhile, Ihedigbo has earned more playing time while serving as a steadying presence. Moore is a wild-card of sorts; he filled in nicely against the Jets but is he more than a fill-in? Brown has fallen out of favor (0 snaps last week).

Add it all up and if the Patriots still think Page can run well, and that his background in the system would make a smooth in-season transition, it makes sense to consider his return to slot in alongside Moore on the depth chart.