Defensive lineman Ty Warren has been with the Patriots since 2003, and this is the first time he's felt such a dramatic shift. The defense he's known was changing and he didn't see himself fitting.
So, no, he wasn't surprised by the team releasing him Friday. The bigger surprise was the schematic changes that were unfolding in meeting rooms and on the field.
Between what he heard in meeting rooms and the team's acquisition of Albert Haynesworth, Ty Warren said he saw the writing on the wall.
"I think it looks like they're trying to get away from the 3-4," Warren said of the base alignment that has been a Patriots staple since early in coach Bill Belichick's Patriots tenure.
Such a change, if that truly is Belichick's intention, would signal a major shift in core defensive philosophy. Instead of the base 3-4 alignment, which the Patriots utilized in 40 percent of the defensive snaps in 2010, they could line up in a more traditional four-man front with Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork in the middle.
If New England is going to the 4-3, the acquisition of Haynesworth makes even more sense. He hated playing in Washington's 3-4 defense. New England remains a top fantasy defense, but a shift could lead to growing pains early in the season.