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Extra points on Sealver Siliga activation

SAN DIEGO -- A few additional thoughts on the Patriots' decision to activate defensive tackle Sealver Siliga off the injured reserve/designated-to-return list Saturday (news story):

Minor surprise. When going over the possibilities of who might fill the open 53rd roster spot, Siliga's activation wasn't viewed as highly of a possibility because the team could still have him practicing for another week without counting him against the 53-man roster, and also has good depth at the defensive tackle position. This tells us that health questions at other areas of the roster, specifically at receiver, aren't as big as maybe we thought. The conclusion we'd draw is that the club doesn't have significant reservations about top receivers Brandon LaFell (shoulder) or Julian Edelman (thigh). If they did, they probably would have promoted a practice squad receiver.

Gives time to ease Siliga back into mix. By activating Siliga now, it provides a cushion to ease him back into football shape as part of a rotation. As we saw with cornerback Brandon Browner earlier in the season, it takes a few weeks to transition from general conditioning to football conditioning. Thus, we'd expect Siliga to be active Sunday night against the Chargers as part of a rotation.

Goal-line and short-yardage defense gets a boost. When the Patriots want to go big at the goal line, or in short-yardage, they can now align Vince Wilfork (6-2, 325), Alan Branch (6-6, 325) and Siliga (6-2, 325) in the middle. That's a lot of power and beef.

Matchup edge to Patriots up front. Specific to the matchup against the Chargers, the Patriots appear to have the edge against a banged-up offensive line that has had four changes at the center position and could be looking at a fifth. Siliga's activation further solidifies the Patriots' strength in this area.