BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots added some defensive depth on Wednesday, signing veteran linebacker James Anderson.
Anderson provides New England with depth at linebacker, and will likely play a cover role behind Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins. Zuri Berry from Boston.com joined The Adam Jones Show on Wednesday night, and is a big fan of the eight-year vet’s versatility.
“People are stating to say right away that he could be a nickle linebacker guy who can sub in for a Dont’a Hightowner or Jerod Mayo, because he can handle passing situations. But if you look at his body of work, he’s been an every down player,” Berry said of Anderson, who led the Bears with 102 tackles in 2013. “He started 16 games for Chicago last season and was a starter in Carolina. There is some versatility there that is very appealing.
“When injuries hit, you’re not going to want to rely on a Chris White or Ja’Gared Davis,” added Berry. “You want some veteran to be able to step in and handle more than just third down. So it’s nice to bring in a guy like this who was still on the market, and have confidence that you have a guy that can go out there and handle business every down.”
Jamie Collins emerged towards the end of his rookie season in 2013, but Berry says the Anderson signing is a good insurance policy in case Collins suffers a sophomore slump.
“That’s the precise way to go about think of this,” said Berry. “I think Collins is a phenomenal talent, but just because he is in year two doesn’t mean he’ll be twice as good as he was last year. He was phenomenal in the playoffs; I really think he did a fantastic job. But having a veteran presence, you can’t argue against having a guy who has done it before in James Anderson.”
Berry also touches on New England’s need for another tight end, and what Colin Kaepernick’s new contract could mean for Tom Brady: