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New England Patriots Links 5/28/12 - Will Brian Waters Retain Starting Position on O-Line?

<em>Dan Koppen will be battling for the starting center position with Dan Connolly</em>.
Dan Koppen will be battling for the starting center position with Dan Connolly.

Mike Reiss shares some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.

1. It somewhat flew under the radar, but after three months of wondering whether Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty would line up at safety or cornerback, he was exclusively at cornerback in Thursday’s organized team activity. All along, that has made the most sense from this view, as it’s too early in his career to permanently switch his position. We’ll see if it sticks.

2. With 12 offensive linemen dressed for Thursday’s organized team activity, it meant the Patriots had three players taking double reps to fill out three different units -- Dan Koppen at center (2nd and 3rd units), Nick McDonald at left guard (2nd and 3rd units) and Matt Kopa at right tackle (2nd and 3rd units). That probably led to the team agreeing to contract terms with center/guard Jamey Richard on Friday, as depth on the line is a bit more thin than desired at this point. Nothing major, but something for Bill Belichick to manage at this early date.

3. Part of the offensive line shortage was tied to starting right guard Brian Waters not being in attendance. Waters has traditionally skipped voluntary OTAs to be with his family in Texas, although he was part of them in Kansas City in 2010. I'll be interested to see how Bill Belichick handles the right guard spot if Waters, who is under contract for a base salary of $1.4 million and a $2.25 million salary cap charge (he has a chance to earn an additional $750,000 in incentives), is with the team at the start of training camp. Does he insert Waters right back into the starting lineup? Or, to reinforce his message to players on what he feels is most important when building a team, does he stick with those who worked throughout the team's voluntary offseason program?

10. Veteran offensive lineman Robert Gallery had fallen out of favor in Seattle and was released just one season into his three-year deal. The release earlier this year was also notable because Seattle's line coach is Tom Cable, who was also Gallery's coach in Oakland and obviously has deep background with him. The Patriots had Gallery lining up in Logan Mankins' left guard spot on Thursday as Mankins recovers from ACL surgery, and in speaking with one NFL scout, there is some doubt as to how much Gallery has left to offer at this point. The Patriots' track record with those type of signings, however, is pretty solid (e.g. Andre Carter).