Mangini: Ellis' Versatility Helps Pats

The addition of Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter, and to a larger extent Albert Haynesworth, may not mean much for the type of defense the Patriots will run this season, but formations aside, we should expect to see these guys on the field. Which is bad news for the rest of the division.

Head coach Bill Belichick has assembled some very good defenses during his tenure in New England, but the Pats' D has been decidedly mediocre (or worse) on occasion, too.

So the organization signing every defensive lineman with a pulse (New England currently has 19 of them in training camp) should increase the chances they find a few who can control the line of scrimmage. That brings us back to Ellis, who signed with the Patriots even though he spent the previous 11 years with the Jets, and the Jets had already offered him a one-year, veteran minimum contract to return.

Former Jets coached-turned-ESPN analyst Eric Mangini wrote about the acquisition Tuesday.

"I think it's a really good signing for New England because Shaun has more experience in this family than probably anyone else they could go get," said Mangini.

"He was drafted by [Bill] Parcells, played for Al Groh and played for me; there is a lot of similar terminology and he has a ton of experience. It makes sense. The learning curve shouldn't be very big."

And whatever defense the Patriots run, Ellis could prove invaluable.

"He has versatility, he even played some outside linebacker for us when we wanted to get really big," Mangini said. "We'd stand him up over the tight end and he can kill guys. I don't know if that's something Bill [Belichick] will do, but he can do it and do it well. He can drop into coverage; he has that type of athleticism in the base [defense]."

On paper, signing Ellis was a no-brainer. The reality, however, is slightly more complicated; he and Haynesworth currently aren't practicing and Belichick calls them "day-to-day." Presumably, they'll return to the field, well, any day now. But any hopes of bolstering the defense clearly depends on the new acquisitions remaining healthy.

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