The Patriots have been making recent headlines for their transactions. A little while ago, they released disgruntled cornerback Leigh Bodden (who is still out of a job). This week, they've made even more moves.
DL Albert Haynesworth - Haynesworth was one of the rotational defensive tackles. He was the only player to generate consistent pressure from game to game, but for every great play, he seemed to take off the next couple snaps. He had words with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and, like Randy Moss after last season's Vikings game, a player does not mess with a Patriots coach.
TE Dan Gronkowski - Da Gronk was the blocking tight end, but the health of tackle Sebastian Vollmer has allowed the Patriots to slide tackle Nate Solder to tight end in run blocking schemes.
DB Malcolm Williams - Williams was the Patriots' 7th round pick and has been on-and-off the practice squad roster as of late.
S Josh Barrett - Unfortunately, Barrett has been placed on the IR with a calf injury. Depth is a major concern in the Patriots' secondary, especially at safety, and this move is troublesome. Hopefully he recovers and can contribute next season.
These moves are extremely important as the Patriots enter the most crucial portion of their schedule. With the Jets coming up, as well as a game against the Eagles, the Patriots need to step up and stay in charge of the AFC East. Hopefully the additionsare just short term fixes as the Patriots starters get healthier and ready for the home stretch.
WR Tiquan Underwood - Underwood spent part of the preseason with the Patriots and should add additional depth as a receiver. He's a speedster who could possibly be sent down the field on a few snaps, but will more likely be asked to contribute in the return game. The Patriots have struggled and they need better field position for the offense.
LB Niko Koutouvides - Koutouvides also spent part of the preseason with the Patriots and impressed with his time on the field. While Tracy White is a better special teams player, Koutouvides provides stronger depth as a linebacker and should see time due to the injury of Brandon Spikes.
DB Sterling Moore - Moore is signed from the practice squad and will most likely be asked to play safety to provide depth in the secondary, especially due to the injury of Patrick Chung and the IR of Josh Barrett.
LB Mike Rivera - Rivera is signed to the practice squad and has fantastic LB size at 6-2, 252 lbs.
S Ross Ventrone - Of course Ventrone is involved. Back to the practice squad.
CB Josh Victorian - Victorian is another player who has been on-and-off the roster. He's back on the practice squad.
*) The return of Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace allow for the departure of Haynesworth. Kyle Love will most likely assume the starting role next to Wilfork, as Wilfork and Brace hold down one tackle spot and Love and Gerrard Warren protect the other.
*) Underwood is necessary as Julian Edelman looked unimpressive against the Giants and Wes Welker's neck is in too much question to put him on special teams. Matthew Slater and Danny Woordhead are uninspiring as a returnmen, as is Stevan Ridley. Devin McCourty is too important to have returning kicks. Moving down the line, the Patriots need a player who can move the ball. #Brandon Tate.
*) Koutouvides should be a short term fix as Spikes heals. I would also like to see Jeff Tarpinian get a chance to see the field.
*) While Dan Gronkowski didn't see a pass in his direction all season, he still had that potential to be an outlet. Using Nate Solder as an extra blocker seems to limit the Patriots in their match-ups as he's only going to be a blocker, allowing defenses to adjust accordingly and drop more players into coverage (on passing plays).
*) The Patriots are going to have to spend a draft pick or two on the safety position in the upcoming draft. This is just absurd.