Woodhead an option for 3rd-down role

Running back Danny Woodhead, who was signed to a one-year contract on Saturday, is an option to fill the "third-down/passing back" void if Kevin Faulk is sidelined because of injury.

Woodhead, who will wear Laurence Maroney's old No. 39 jersey, was a hot topic of discussion on today's conference calls with Bill Belichick and Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio.

"That's exactly what he did," Belichick said when asked if Woodhead has served in a third-down type of role. "He actually made [the Jets] as a receiver. He played kind of between receiver and sub [running] back for the Jets."

Caserio was asked what the team's talent evaluators saw in Woodhead, who is listed at 5-foot-9, 195 pounds.

"Each of the last two preseasons, he's been productive when he's been on the field," Caserio said. "He's played multiple positions. He's short, but I wouldn't say he's necessarily small, if that makes sense. He's kind of a shorter, stockier type build, he's good with the ball in his hands, he's got good quickness. There are some things that he did as a player that we liked, so that's why we signed him.

"We'll start working with him this week and see what type of progress we make. He was a really productive player, albeit at a [lower] level of competition [in college], but his production was astronomical. Typically with smaller-school players, you'd like to see them produce at a very high level and he did that at Chadron State."

In a related note, Woodhead did not travel with the Patriots for their game against the Jets on Sunday. So the idea that the Patriots signed the former Jet as a gamesmanship type move seems to be off the mark.

"He came in Saturday, signed a contract, took a physical, but we were already in New York by the time he got in here," Belichick said.