The buzz on the Patriots is that they're reaching a level of extreme
desperation trying to assemble some defensive depth and talent before the Colts game on
November 7th. Here's what we're hearing....
LB Mike Maslowski
The former Chiefs linebacker who led the team in tackles in 2002 didn't have a job at the end of this year's training camp. He missed all of 2004 due to a knee injury that resulted in the insertion of a plate. Maslowski couldn't do much in training camp because of discomfort and had the plate removed in August. Now his agent says he is "100%" and has set up tryouts for him. Maslowski showed what he's got to the Chiefs on Friday and they obviously aren't convinced or impressed. His agent told one of our contacts Friday evening that Maslowski isn't going to be offered a contract.
The Patriots are going to take a look at him Monday or Tuesday. The Pats have nine linebackers on their depth chart right now and Tedy Bruschi returning, so why do they need to take a look at a linebacker with a surgically repaired knee who is being rejected by his former team? They evidently still have some concerns about the talent of their group to even bother to take a look.
S Gus Scott
After losing safety Rodney Harrison for the season at strong safety, the Patriots turned to Gus Scott to move up into his spot and he struggled mightily in his debut against the Chargers. He sat out last weekend's game against Denver with an injury prior to the team making the decision to put him on IR. His backup, rookie James Sanders ended up getting injured during the Denver game and missed the second half.
Veteran Arturo Freeman, who the Patriots signed just four days earlier, was forced into action for the balance of the game. Freeman is now likely to be the starter when the Colts come to town. And while Belichick is trying to prop him up as an experienced safety that can help the Patriots, it's hard to overlook the fact that this guy was cut by both the Packers and the Titans while trying to find a job in 2005.
DB Hank Poteat
The Patriots also added cornerback Hank Poteat back to their roster this week. He was cut by the Patriots back on August 30th.
Poteat doesn't bring much to the table and the move shows how thin and desperate the Patriots are at this position as well. During his first three seasons in Pittsburgh he played in all but seven games, but he's played in just one game --total -- over the past two seasons with Tampa Bay and New England. Belichick gave a less than glowing comment on bringing Poteat back saying a big factor is that he already knows the Patriots defense.
Want to bet Belichick would love to have Dexter Reid back right now? The Colts really dealt the Pats a major blow with that pickup earlier this year.
According to a report we received, the Patriots brought in two defensive backs for tryouts on Thursday, but neither of these guys are going to help Belichick solve his secondary problems either.
Veteran safety Brian Walker, a journeyman who has played for the Redskins, Dolphins (twice), Seahawks, and Lions over his nine-year career, has been a 16-game starter four times. But here's how bad Walker's stock has fallen over the past three years in Detroit. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in September, 2004 that wasn't going to require an entire season to heal, but the Lions placed him on IR anyway which speaks volumes about what they thought about what he had left to offer. Lions head coach Steve Mariucci said, "...we just needed to move on." He's been unemployed since February when the Lions cut him.
The other defensive back they took a look at on Thursday is Roosevelt Williams, who was cut by the Redskins earlier this year. The Jets signed him August 2nd but released him less than a week later. Williams started his career in Chicago and made 13 game appearances, then played in just seven for the Browns over the next two seasons before trying to make it with the Redskins this year. He has a meager 22 career tackles and three passes defensed in three years.
What it all means
The Patriots are looking for a body, any body, that can give their defense some hope. The resumes of the players above are filled with past injuries, multiple failures and stretches of unemployment. But that's how desperate the Patriots are right now with the Colts offense ready to arrive in Foxboro in two weeks. With the media hype sure to be doled out in gargantuan proportions leading up to Monday night's matchup, there is much to be gained -- or lost -- by what the Patriots are able to do to shore up their leaky defense. ColtPower will continue to track their attempts to upgrade their personnel over the next two weeks through "The Buzz".