Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com discusses some of the New England Patriots options for replacing OLB Tully Banta-Cain while recovers from abdominal surgery. Banta-Cain is expected to miss 4-5 weeks which is the good news considering that it should take up the majority of the preseason.
“While Banta-Cain is listed on the roster as a 3-4 outside linebacker, I view him as more of a rush end when the team plays a four-man line or is in sub packages in passing situations,” writes Reiss. “He’s at his best when getting up the field and not being asked to set a hard edge in the running game.”
Reiss mentions that the Patriots have players on their roster that should be able to fill in during Banta-Cain’s absence.
“Veteran Eric Moore, a late-season signing from 2010, likely steps up to replace Banta-Cain,” he writes. “Marques Murrell, who played in the team’s 2010 opener before being cut and brought back late in the year, is back in the mix along with 2011 sixth-round pick Markell Carter of Central Arkansas.”
It’s really no secret that the Patriots biggest need is in the pass rushing department which is why many draft experts had them targeting a pass rusher such Brooks Reed or Jabaal Sheard during the first few rounds of this years draft. Last year they lost DE Ty Warren early on in the season and struggled throughout the season to get a consistent pass rush so Bill Belichick will have his work cut out for him again this season.