Highlighting Warren & his value

Veteran defensive lineman Gerard Warren has made some solid contributions to the Patriots over the last two seasons. Most recently, he was one of the team's top performers in Super Bowl XLVI.

With news that he is set to re-sign with the club, here is a snapshot look at the roles he's played and where he might fit in 2012:


Snaps played: 45.9 percent

Primary role: DE in 3-4

Key stats: 17 games, 11 starts


Snaps played: 27.2 percent

Primary role: DT in sub

Key stats: 15 games, 2 sacks, 2 drawn holding penalties

ANALYSIS: Two years, two different roles. This highlights how Warren is a versatile lineman, and we know how much the Patriots value that versatility on the roster. As Warren showed in the Super Bowl when he played a penetrating role in passing situations, he still has something to offer at this late stage of his career (he'll be 34 in July), and the key is managing his snaps. Less is more so he doesn't wear down. In 2010, he was asked to play more of a two-gapping role and hold up against the run, a role he performed admirably despite never having done it consistently before. Assuming there isn't a drop-off in his play in 2012 training camp, his presence on the roster would give Bill Belichick options depending on that week's game-plan -- he fits in the 3-4 or in sub. He's also a steady presence in the locker room, one of Vince Wilfork's close pals who adds to the chemistry in the room. When asked about potential retirement, Warren recently said they'd have to tear the jersey off him. That speaks to his love of the game at this stage of his career.