Yesterday, the team announced the release of outside linebacker Shawn Crable. To replace him, the Patriots are bringing back his former Michigan teammate. Today, the Patriots announced the re-signing of outside linebacker Pierre Woods.
Woods was with the team from 2006-2009 after being signed as an undrafted free agent. Although he was with the team this offseason and training camp, Woods was a surprise cut at the roster cut-down in early September.
While Woods never really panned out as an every down outside linebacker, he is a very solid special teams player who can also be a force against the run at outside linebacker. He has even occasionally played at defensive end in the 3-4. However, don't expect him to frequently be a pass rusher in sub-packages like Shawn Crable was.
This means the Patriots will be a little bit thin in that area. Tully Banta-Cain and Jermaine Cunningham now project as the top pass rushers in sub-packages, with Rob Ninkovich also an option. Other possibilities for outside linebacker include Dane Fletcher, who played defensive end in college as well as Brandon Spikes, who lined up as a pass rushing defensive end on occasion while at Florida. The Patriots could also use a player such as Gary Guyton on a variety of blitzes from sub-packages.