FOXBOROUGH — This may be the closest Bill Belichick will come to saying his defense is going to have more of a 4-3 look this season.
Belichick ended his press conference moments ago and announced the team has signed defensive lineman Gerard Warren, who played with the Patriots in 2010, and released safety Brandon McGowan.
The Patriots now have 16 defensive linemen on their roster with the addition of Warren, Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter, which the team made official this morning. So what does this mean for his defensive philosophy?
“I don’t think our defensive philosophy is going to change,” Belichick said. “How we align and how we handle the responsibilities, I think that could definitely change by game plan or by what we feel are our strengths and weaknesses and how best to deploy the players. But I don’t think fundamentally our philosophy or our techniques are going to change. I think what we’re teaching them, we’re going to continue to teach and use on a very consistent basis.
“But how strategically we want to move guys around and put them in certain alignments or how to configure them relative to formations and tied in with coverages and things like that. I think there’s flexibility there.”
Other tidbits from today’s press conference:
On signing Warren: “It’s something that we’ve planned on for a while and we delayed it here for a few days, because we wanted to, really. … He did a lot of good things for us last year. He was a veteran player who I thought handled himself very well on the team, so add him to the group.”
On seeing a lot of Shaun Ellis in the past: “Yeah, too much. Certainly Shaun’s played a lot of good football against us and he’s been a very productive player, durable and very consistent. I mean it seems like every time we play them he lines up there and we have a hard time with him. The fact that we had an opportunity to add him to our team, we feel fortunate. …”
On Andre Carter: “… Andre’s a player that I spent a lot of time with prior to him coming out in the draft. Of course he was five years in San Francisco and five years in Washington, but again I think he’s another high quality individual. He’s very professional, works hard and a very well conditioned athlete who has had a lot of production throughout his career.
“Last year, when Washington went to the 3-4 defense, it wasn’t a good fit for him evidently in that system, but we feel like with what we’ll be asking him to do this year, relative to what he was asked to do last year, what we’ve seen him do in the first nine years of his career that we can use his ability on the edge and he can be effective.”
On what he envisions for DE Mark Anderson: “I see Mark as an edge player, a player on the perimeter of the defense, absolutely. But how much or when that is, I don’t know.”