Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Pats' roster moves: trick or treat?
By Field Yates
In what became a busy Halloween, the Patriots made a number of roster moves, highlighted by waiving cornerback Sterling Moore and adding free agent linebacker Mike Rivera and cornerback Derrick Martin, both of whom were previously with the team.
Passing along some thoughts on everything that went down:
Moore, a hero for the team in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, had evolved into a reserve secondary player who saw his most extensive action of the season against the Rams in Week 8, playing 57 of 63 snaps, according to colleague Mike Reiss. That was in the absence of cornerback Kyle Arrington, who left the game early due to a head issue. It's possible that Arrington could be in line for a Week 10 return to field, as may be safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory.
If all three are healthy, the team may opt to push Devin McCourty back to his natural position at cornerback, which would slide Moore down to fourth on the depth chart at cornerback. Given his limited special teams utilization this season, the team may believe that Martin -- who is known for his special teams ability -- would add more in the back end of the secondary. Veteran Marquice Cole adds depth at cornerback as well.
Should Moore clear waivers on Thursday, he would be eligible to be re-signed to the Patriots' practice squad. With the recent promotion of Malcolm Williams to the active roster, as well as the release of practice squad tight end Alex Silvestro on Wednesday, the Patriots have a pair of open practice squad spots to fill.
As mentioned previously with Martin, he projects to be a player that can contribute on special teams. He was signed in the middle of training camp by the Patriots before subsequently being released as the active roster was finalized. Originally a sixth-round pick in 2006 of the Baltimore Ravens, Martin won a Super Bowl ring in each of the past two seasons as a member of the Packers and then the Giants.
Rivera, who made the Patriots' active roster coming out of training camp, played in two games with the team before being released. He adds depth as an inside linebacker and also on special teams. With Jerod Mayo banged up due to an elbow issue, Rivera provides insurance. The Patriots had him in for a workout last week.
In addition to the roster moves, the Patriots worked out nine players, including three veteran kickers, two punters and a long snapper.
That shouldn't necessarily be taken as an indication that the team is unhappy with any of its specialists, and might be a case of doing due diligence during what is a quiet week for the team as it enjoys its bye. While Stephen Gostkowski has missed three kicks this season, he's bounced back strong in recent weeks and remains an extremely accurate kicker. Punter Zoltan Mesko is among the league's best, and long snapper Danny Aiken is a reliable player at his position.
It's not uncommon for teams to take the time to survey available players via a workout, just to get an idea of what kind of shape and form they are in for reference. Despite the workouts, it would come as a surprise if any of the specialists' jobs are in jeopardy.