Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

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Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - When you look at the list of 2011 Patriots salaries and cap hits, one number in the top five jumps off the page. Ty Warren with an approximate3.1 million salary and a 5.878 million cap hit. (Thanks, Miguel!). That number is too steep for a player of Warren's age and injury history despite all the good work he's done for this team. And there was a lot of it between the time he was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2003 and July 28, 2011. When I contacted Warren Friday afternoon and told him I was sorry to hear the news, he replied,"Don't be sorry. It's all good, man. I'm excited, really, to be honest with you. I appreciate everything. I appreciate my journey with the Pats and the Kraft family presenting the opportunity. I appreciate all my teammates over the years who were close friends...and will continue to be. I look forward to bigger and better things. "We're putting out feelers to certain teams around the league," he added. "I'm looking forward to donning the jersey of a contending team and that's what you'll see me wearing this fall."Warren missed all of 2010after hip surgery.The 30-year-old from Texas A&M has been a highly regarded player in the community and the locker room, but there seemed to be growing friction between he and Bill Belichick in the last couple of years here. On Thursday, Warren failed the team's conditioning test, pulling up with a hamstring injury. "But there's people who failed the running test who stuck around," Warren pointed out."I think the team was looking to do some things differentlyon defense andI wasn't in the plan. It doesn't have anything to do with the test or anything else or related with Bill. You can see by the acquisitions they made. Plan on doing different things I'm not in the plans for and with my salary, they weren't going to keep me around as dead money."Asked about his relationship with Belichick, Warren said, "Bill's a unique guy. There's some things that toward the end of my careerwe didn't agree on. At the same time, you can't make him happy all the time and he can't make me happy all the time. At the end of the dayI respect him as a good coach and as someone who was very good at preparing the team. But that's about as far as it goes."Hisexit conversation with Belichick was "a grateful talk." Warren added,"I respect Bill and I respect the guys."The other salary-cap related move was clearly offensive lineman Nick Kaczur who was on the books for3.4 million in salary and over 4.3 million in salary and potential bonus money. A third-round pick in 2005, Kaczur wasa more than serviceable right tackle for much of his time but his performance lagged in 2009. A back injury during training camp last year cost him the 2010 season. Alge Crumpler may be thebiggest surprise among the releases. He was due a salary of 2.4 million this year. He joined the Patriots last spring and quickly became a mentor to young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and brought such great leadership he was named a captain last year. He was also an outstanding blocker. He seems the most likely of the released players to get re-signed to a lower contract at a later date. The Patriots also announced the previously reported releases of Marcus Stroud and Tully Banta-Cain, as well as the signings of two rookies - quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

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Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

The Patriots opened a roster spot by waiving defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, but they won't be adding a quarterback to take his place. 

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the team has swapped one defensive tackle for another by adding former Browns big man John Hughes, a 6-foot-2, 320-pounder who played under former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi when Lombardi was Cleveland's general manager in 2013. 

Hughes was released last week after spending just over four years with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2012. He signed a four-year extension with the Browns last season that was worth $12.8 million. 

With the Patriots, Hughes figures to work in as part of the rotation on the interior of the defensive line along with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine. Unlike Johnson, who was more of a penetrating pass-rusher, Hughes should factor in as more of a space-eating type. He has 5.5 career sacks in 53 games. 

Johnson is the latest in a long line of Browns who played under Lombardi to end up in New England. The two most notable Patriots who spent 2013 in Cleveland are defensive end Jabaal Sheard and running back Dion Lewis. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who arrived in New England in a trade this summer, was drafted by Lombardi's front office as the No. 6 overall pick in 2013.

Pats exploit 'element of unknown' with Garoppolo or Brissett at QB

Pats exploit 'element of unknown' with Garoppolo or Brissett at QB

There’s no way to spin rookie Jacoby Brissett starting a game rather than three-year NFL veteran Jimmy Garoppolo or future Hall of Famer Tom Brady as preferable.
 
But can the disadvantages be mitigated? Can the fact there is no “book” on a player be helpful?
 
“I think there’s always an element of the unknown when you’re dealing with a player or something you haven’t seen or scouted as much,” said Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on a conference call Monday afternoon. “I don’t know if there’s an advantage there, it’s just that you don’t have as much information on a player or on some scheme that they may use, which then forces you to figure some things out as the game goes along and do some quick self-scouting as you move through the first cquarter, the first half, whatever it is, just to make sure that if it is something new you haven’t seen before, if it is a player that you haven’t played against and don’t have a lot of volume of tape on, that you have an opportunity to evaluate quickly what is going on.

"What’s happening in the game? How much of an impact is that player having? Are they trying to  do something that’s disrupting what you’re trying to do with their scheme? I think that happens a lot of weeks during the course of the year based on health and availability, new players, guys being called up, someone that just got signed and you don’t really have a lot of experience watching them play in their system. I would say that’s a common occurrence for us.”
 
With a fullback or UDFA guard pressed into duty, there’s not a helluva lot that will be altered in terms of scheme. With players like Garoppolo and Brissett, though, the Patriots' long-established offense can take on an entirely different look if different areas are emphasized.
 
For instance, jet sweep is a play the team won’t use much with Tom Brady except as a “keep ‘em honest” on the edges kind of play. With Garoppolo, quickness when he gets outside the pocket has to be respected so if he fakes that jet sweep and rolls to the outside, he’s a run-pass threat with speed and downfield accuracy. With Brissett, he’s a threat with elusiveness, size and power as a runner. Additionally, if the Patriots wanted to try the old Elway Throwback to the opposite sideline, Brissett may have more arm power than either Brady or Garoppolo.
 
McDaniels said the Patriots aren’t looking necessarily for ways to “surprise” opponents as much as they are looking for ways to accentuate players’ strengths.  
 
“We’ve got to take the guys that we get to play with, based on health and other factors, and then we consider the defense that we’re getting ready to play against, and the great players and the scheme that they use, and then we try to formulate the right plan to allow our players to go out there and play fast, play well, and do the things that suit their talents the best,” McDaniels explained. “I don’t think that our mindset has changed.

"Some of the variables have changed from one week to the next, which is always the case,  and of course, when you get a group of guys a plan and then you work so hard to get ready for Sunday or Thursday night and go out there and watch them play and execute and take care of the ball and do the things you need to do to try to win, and then they enjoy it so much, that’s really the thing that you take the most satisfaction from as a coach.”