The Patriots recently acquired offensive linemen Tyrone Wheatley Jr. from the Cleveland Browns and Vederian Lowe from the Minnesota Vikings. Belichick shifted to former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s 2008 ACL injury as a reason for such moves with the season around the corner.
“Depth’s important at every position on your roster,” Belichick said on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday, August 28. “You just don’t know when you’re going to need it. … You can’t insure all of them, but you try to have as much depth as you can on your roster for those contingencies, not knowing for sure when you’re going to need that. Tom Brady got hurt in 2008, first play, first game, and it turns out you need depth at that position with [Matt] Cassel. And then that never happened again.”
“A little bit of that’s unpredictable, but you just have to be prepared for [it], and we felt like this was an opportunity to work with two young players that would give us that. We’ll see how it goes,” Belichick added.
Unpredictability hit the Patriots’ offensive line with Riley Reiff as the latest casualty due to an injury in the preseason finale. Calvin Anderson has been dealing with an illness since July, and Conor McDermott sustained an ankle injury in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers
Bill Belichick Explains Pierre Strong Jr. Decision
New England only parted ways with one player amid the trades — second-year running back Pierre Strong Jr., who went to the Browns for Wheatley. The former South Dakota State star showed promise as a rookie amid 10 yards per carry in limited play last season.
“We had to give up something to get a player that we feel like we needed,” Belichick said about Strong.
The Patriots also recently signed running back Ezekiel Elliott. A former NFL rushing champion, Elliott remained unsigned the whole offseason after the Dallas Cowboys let him go to save salary cap space.
“After signing Zeke, we felt like we had more depth at the running back position and less depth on the offensive line,” Belichick said.
Patriots WR Kayshon Boutte Receives Praise From Bill Belichick
Patriots rookie wide receiver Kayshon Boutte impressed Belichick after a convincing preseason performance. Boutte tallied four receptions for 56 yards in the second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on August 19. The Patriots didn’t involve Boutte in the offense for the August 25 finale against the Tennessee Titans as other reserves played the lion’s share of snaps.
“As camp went on, seemed to get stronger and more productive both in practice and games … that was very encouraging,” Belichick told reporters on August 26. “Showed an explosive ability on the field. Kayshon has had a strong camp.”
The Patriots drafted Boutte out of LSU in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Boutte showed promise in college with his athleticism amid 131 catches for 1,782 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career.