Newly signed backup quarterback Andrew Walter was on the field at Gillette for the first time Tuesday morning. Wearing No. 16, the former Oakland Raider stood a head above the rest at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. Walter avoided a conversation with reporters after practice, but his teammates didn't shy away from talking about him.
Wes Welker said that anytime you get competition for the quarterback job, it's a good thing. He also noted Walter's strong arm and poise at the position.
Meanwhile, backup quarterback Kevin O'Connell spoke about what the signing of Walter means for him. O'Connell said he's learning from both Tom Brady and now Walter and understands that being a part of the NFL means a constant cycle of signing and releasing players. That being said, O'Connell mentioned that he's mentally ready for the challenge, and that he's getting close to where he wants to be physically come the Patriots' first preseason game in Philly next Thursday night.
The battle for the position will surely heat up leading into the season. But don't expect O'Connell, or Walter for that matter, to shy away from the competition.
Walter has a familiar receiver working in his favor: He and Randy Moss were teammates in Oakland.
But O'Connell has a year of working behind Tom Brady under his belt, and both quarterbacks will provide the insurance the Pats want should No. 12 not be available.
But don't worry, Pats fans, it's looking as if Tom Terrific will be just fine making the calls this season.