Carpenter's Return Not Necessarily Because of Hightower Injury

Steve Balestrieri
October 03, 2012 at 01:48am ET

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The New England Patriots are expected to re-sign linebacker Bobby Carpenter this week, according to Comcast SportsNet New England.

Carpenter, 29, was somewhat of a shock cut on Sept. 1, one day after the Patriots trimmed their roster to 53 players. At the start of preseason, he was getting starters reps, as camp wore on he got the top sub-package option behind Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes.

While many are pointing to Hightower’s injury as the reason for the bringing of Carpenter back, I don’t think so. After Hightower left in the first quarter, he was replaced by Tracy White who is known more for his STs play than his LBer play.

The Patriots have an open roster spot after releasing defensive tackle Terrell McClain earlier on Tuesday and the signing of Carpenter makes total sense. The one glaring weakness for the Patriots front seven thus far this year has been the coverage gaps in the linebackers. I thought Carpenter did a good job with that this summer, which is why most all of the Pats beat writers had him on the team.

Regardless of how long Hightower is out, if at all this week, Carpenter fills a valuable role. When the Patriots go to their sub-packages, Carpenter can hang with the tight ends much better than any of their starters. I think the coaches over-estimated the other LBers ability to cover. Carpenter’s return will remedy that quickly.

One thing that stands out about the Denver offense this season so far, is that with all the hullabaloo about Peyton Manning’s supposed lack of arm strength is that the Broncos are using the middle of the field a lot, especially with a lot of crossing routes.

Expect to see Carpenter fill a role quickly on Sunday.

Check back with us later on this week as I’ll post our key matchups for the game soon.

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