|Bill Belichick on the loss of Dane Fletcher: ‘We’ll have to look for somebody else to step in’||08.10.12 at 8:21 pm ET|
For the time being, it sounds like the Patriots will be moving on without Dane Fletcher. Coach Bill Belichick indicated Friday afternoon that the linebacker, who was injured in the first quarter of Thursday’s preseason opener against the Saints — reportedly a torn ACL — could be out “for a while.”
“The news on Dane doesn’t look very good,” Belichick said on a conference call with reporters. “He’ll probably be out for a while, which is unfortunate because he’s worked hard, specifically this offseason and training camp. We’ve had good competition at the position so we’ll have to look for somebody else to step in. But it’s unfortunate for Dane.
“I’m not trying to speculate on his injury. I just think that he’s going to be out for a while; we’ll see exactly what that means. I don’t know.”
Two players who could be in line for more playing time are Bobby Carpenter and rookie Dont’a Hightower. Hightower appeared to move almost seamlessly into Fletcher’s spot after the Montana State product went down, while Carpenter also saw plenty of playing time after the first quarter.
“Bobby is a very experienced player. He’s been with several teams,’ Belichick said of Carpenter, who signed as a free agent in the offseason with New England. “He’s played inside and outside in the 3-4, he’s played the different positions in the 4-3 and nickel defenses, he has a lot of experience in the kicking game. He’s done a lot of different things for Detroit, Miami, Dallas and us. He’s a versatile player with a lot of experience.”
In addition, it could open up some opportunities for a younger player like Mike Rivera who could add some depth to the position at the back end of the roster.
“He was on our practice squad last year; [he] wasn’t in training camp for us but had a good year on the practice squad and did enough things that we re-signed him this season and he’s been very competitive in camp,” Belichick said of Rivera. “We’re trying to give him some opportunities to see what he can do and how effective he can be doing it. But he’s certainly well ahead of where he was last year because of the spring practices, the OTAs and being here in training camp, so he knows our system a lot better.
“He’s a hard working kid that has shown up in the kicking game and on defense. He’s done some good things, but still has a long way to go to establish himself as a veteran NFL player.”
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