As is typical of the Patriots, neither Bill Belichick nor Matt Patricia would tip the team's hand as to the rumored signing of defensive end Andre Carter. Tom E. Curran confirmed reports of New England bringing Carter back surfaced early Tuesday morning. But there was no announcement made before the day's conference calls, and so coach and coordinator kept mum.
Said Bill Belichick: "We have nothing official to announce."
Which doesn't mean a deal isn't in the works. All it means is no one will discuss a roster move until said move is made official.
Carter played for the Patriots in 2011. The 33-year old was having a brilliant season, starting 14 games and racking up 10 sacks, until he suffered a knee injury that landed him on IR. New England cut ties with Carter and he moved on to Oakland.
Though the memories are mostly good, Patricia refused to look back.
"Certainly 2011 was 2011. We're really concentrated on 2013 and moving forward to the Dolphins and making sure we do a great job preparing for them. Unfortunately, that's a question about the past and we're going to focus on the present and the future, and really trying to focus on getting ready for Miami.
Patricia also deferred comment on the possibility of Carter entering into this week's defensive game plan.
"I think we're going to concentrate on everybody who we know is currently here."
Sometimes it helps to speak in more general terms. Patricia was asked about signing players mid-week and the quick turnaround of getting those players into the game just days later.
"We'll have players that either get added or removed form the roster throughout the week; that's a normal occurrence in the NFL. We just do the best job we can within the game plan we try to design that particular week, and the different strategies we think are beneficial to try to implement that player into whatever particular attack we're trying to present that week.
"Certainly that's going to change player by player and position by position, but we're going to try to have an holistic approach to the opponent we're playing that week and do the best we can to stop whatever different problems they present, and certainly whoever is on the roster at that particular time, we'll going to try and fit them in the best way possible."
One thing Carter could do for New England is ease the workloads of starting defensive ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. Neither of the pair comes out during games and Carter would be a solid replacement in the pass rush. If nothing else, he could provide some veteran experience the team lost when nose tackle Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo went down with season-ending injuries.
But is he ready to go? Carter has been out of football since the end of last season. Surely, it should help he's played for the Patriots before.
"I'd say in general, people with some familiarity with your system would have an advantage to quickly catching up to speed," Patricia noted. "But I can't say that's the only case. There are guys at a certain level of experience that come in and can absolutely pick it up right away and have the way about them to get ready as soon as possible. Everyone is a professional and attack their job from that standpoint."
"If we have people who are added, or whatever the case may be, we expect him to prepare hard just like everyone else who's here everyday."