Defenders like to be in attack-mode

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One theme stood out above all others when listening to Patriots defenders in the locker room today. They like to attack.

"Everyone is out there, flying around, just getting after the quarterback," linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. "It's fun."

This has been one of the major storylines of training camp, as coach Bill Belichick has tossed aside the team's read-and-react 3-4 defense for a more pressure-based, get-up-the-field scheme. The results, particularly on third down, have been impressive through two preseason games.

Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork smiled when the topic was brought up Monday.

"Any football player that is aggressive loves to attack," he said, adding that the changes have given veterans like himself some new things to learn. "At times it calls for us to attack. At times it calls for us to sit back and play some good technique. I was always told, 'When the coach gives you leeway to go make a play, you better make it count.' That's where we're at right now."

Ninkovich, who has been lining up on the strong side, agrees.

"Any time you can get the quarterback off his spot, and mess up the timing of the receivers and quarterback, it's going to help everybody out," he said. "If we can continue to do things like that, affect the quarterback and his play, everything is going to work out better for the defense. We're going to continue to do that and get after the quarterback."

Cornerback Devin McCourty touched on the benefit of a strong rush for the secondary.

"Those guys have been doing a great job up front," he said. "In the secondary, we're trying to keep up our end of the bargain."