Patriots right guard Brian Waters.One of the story lines sure to get plenty of attention in the week leading up to Monday's game against the Chiefs is Patriots guard Brian Waters going up against his former team.
Waters spent 11 seasons with the Chiefs appearing in 163 games. Five times he was voted a Pro Bowler and twice he was a first-team All-Pro. The two sides agreed to a mutual parting this offseason and Waters landed in New England just days before the start of the 2011 regular season.
As Patriots coach Bill Belichick gushed during a conference all with the New England media Tuesday, it's impossible to overstate just how much Waters has meant to the team -- both on and off the field. According to analytical site Pro Football Focus, Waters has allowed just two sacks over and three quarterback pressures over 638 total snaps. By the site's grading system, Waters ranks as the fifth best guard in the league and the second best in pass protection.
On Tuesday, Belichick offered high praise about Waters' work ethic, especially after an early season injury to center Dan Koppen thrust him into full-time duty at a position he had never played before (his entire K.C. career was spent at left guard).
"I would say the biggest thing with Brian, not how well he’s playing and how good he is -- because he’s a good player, it’s just how quickly he was able to get acclimated to everything, to our system, the way we call plays and do things and make adjustments in the offensive line," said Belichick. "Every offensive line is kind of in their own little world, just the way that those five people interact in their calls and communications and knowing where the guy beside you is, passing games and blitzes and things like that. No matter how long you’ve played, working with those guys as closely as they work together on a play-by-play basis, I’d say it’s come together more quickly than I really think we as a staff realistically expected that it would. He’s had really no problems at all adjusting and making the transition. That’s not only changing positions but coming onto a pretty veteran line."
Belichick also pointed to how Waters got himself back in the game Sunday night against the Jets after getting dinged up during a first-half series.
"I think he showed a lot of toughness there in the Jets game where he got rolled up on the second play of the game, came out and kind of taped back up and went back in and played well," said Belichick. "He’s added a lot to our line and our entire football team and he’s earned everyone’s respect here. He’s tough, he’s a good football player. He’s really made some outstanding plays, just individual plays that you don’t see many other players at that position make. He’s a high-quality player, he’s a high-quality individual."