While New England Patriots fans still are likely feeling the aftershock of the Darrelle Revis-to-the-Jets news, sources indicate that the team is still planning on competing in 2015.
That being said, the Patriots are still looking to build a team (shocking, I know). The Patriots are bringing in veteran free agent linebacker Colin McCarthy for a free agent visit, according to Field Yates of ESPN.
McCarthy, 26, is an interesting player with some upside. He was injured in 2014, but was an emerging player for the Titans after being selected in the 4th round of the 2011 draft out of Miami.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gushed about McCarthy prior to New England's meeting against the Titans in 2012:
I'd say he's definitely a full-time guy for them. Again, he does a lot of things for them. He plays a decent amount in the deep part of the field in their 2-Tampa scheme as the middle linebacker where he's running deep with those vertical routes down the middle and things like that. Of course, he's involved in the running game at the line of scrimmage, mixing it up inside, taking on centers and guards and fullbacks and all that. He's got a good set of skills. I think he's very instinctive and adept at pass coverage. He seems to have a real good feel for route combinations, recognizing where the quarterback is trying to go with the ball. He anticipates well, he gets a good break on the ball, he's had his hands on a number of balls, interceptions - ran one back for a touchdown against Arizona. He definitely on film looks like he's the leader of the defense in terms of signal callers and making adjustments and checks and that kind of thing. You can kind of see the other guys looking to him. You also see him taking control of the situation. He's a guy that's really come on quickly and has done a good job in all phases of the game: the running game, zone defense, man-to-man defense, he makes plays inside against big people in the middle of the line and he can get to the sideline and get outside on the perimeter plays and be a factor on those and the screen passes and wide routes outside, he can run well and gets outside into the play. He's a real good football player. He's coming on quickly and looks like he's a real good middle linebacker.
With Revis out of the mix, perhaps the Patriots become more of a cover 2 or off-man defense with a pressure 4-3 base. McCarthy would make sense in that type of defense, and at a minimum, could take over Jonathan Casillas' 2014 role.