New England Patriots Sign Brian Waters: What It Means for the Team Overall
When the New England Patriots announced their 53-man roster on Saturday evening, hardly anyone thought they were done making moves.
The notable thin spots were at safety, tight end and guard.
The need for a guard has been a slow burn that has developed over time. Injuries to Rich Ohrnberger and Dan Connolly, and the retirement of Steve Neal earlier in the offseason have left the Patriots looking for help.
Waters played left guard throughout his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he will likely flip to right guard for the Patriots with Logan Mankins holding down that spot on the left side.
In nine years as a full-time starter, Waters has only missed three games. That kind of consistency is hard to match. Consistency, mind you, that comes with a high level of play. His five Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro selections are proof of that.
One has to wonder what Waters, at 34 years old, has left in the tank. Some might call him "washed-up Waters," but he could be the Moses of the Patriots offensive line.
He spent 2010 parting the Red Sea of defensive linemen in Kansas City, helping the Chiefs yield the league's best rushing attack and an impressive 4.7 yards per carry average. The hope is that Waters will bring some of that toughness to the offensive line in 2011.
As with any move the Patriots make, there's always side interest in connecting the dots to Bill Belichick, if they connect at all. In that regard, Waters played under former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis last year with the Chiefs, and is at least vaguely familiar with one form of the offensive scheme the Patriots run.
Although the signing was a step in the right direction in many regards, this situation isn't settled quite yet. The Patriots cut their roster down to 53 players Saturday evening. With the Waters signing, they are now one over the limit and have to make a sacrifice to appease the roster gods.
In that respect, look for Jeff Tarpinian to possibly land on injured reserve this afternoon. The team clearly likes him enough to keep him around, and this allows them to do that without the risk of another team claiming him off waivers.
That's not the only possibility, though. The Patriots are still pretty heavy at cornerback, with six currently on the roster. Darius Butler, long thought to be on the roster bubble, may not hear his phone ring today, but it would surprise many if he stayed with the team for an extended period of time.
Yesterday's cuts notwithstanding, the assembling of a 53-man roster is an organic process that doesn't happen in one day or with a specific deadline. The 53-man roster changes day-to-day, week-to-week. This is just the first of many changes to come during the 2011 season.
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