Anderson in a rush to leave his mark
September, 20, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Fernando Medina/US PresswirePatriots defensive end Mark Anderson is making an impact as a pass-rusher.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson said his role is simply to "create some havoc" when he's on the field. So far so good for the sixth-year veteran.
Anderson picked up his second sack in as many games on Sunday when he stripped San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Kyle Love pounced on the ball, sealing New England's 35-21 triumph at Gillette Stadium.
"I’m blessed right now with this opportunity," said Anderson. "I'm in there, trying to get to the quarterback, trying to create some type of havoc by causing some pressure. We want to get the offense the ball, so they can go put some points on the board."
Anderson recorded 12 sacks during a breakout rookie season with the Bears in 2006, but produced just 13.5 sacks over the next four seasons. After spending time with both Houston and Chicago last year, Anderson surprised some by simply making the Patriots' 53-man roster out of camp given all the additions on the defensive line, including veteran All-Pros like Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis.
Now two weeks in, with limited snaps as a pure sub rusher, Anderson boasts 1/3 of the team's six sacks. In Week 1, he played 34 of 76 snaps in Miami and hurried quarterback Chad Henne a handful of times, sacking him once. Anderson played just 19 of 72 snaps on Sunday against the Chargers, but produced the clinching sack.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound end knows the Patriots want to improve their third-down defense moving forward, but said it doesn't get any easier heading to Buffalo, even if the Patriots have had their number in recent years (the Patriots have won 15 straight games vs. the Bills since a 31-0 loss in Buffalo in Week 1 of the 2003 season).
"In this league, you can never underestimate a team," said Anderson. "They've been doing pretty good. They're 2-0, off to a great start, and they look very good on offense from what I've seen -- running the ball and passing. We have to go out there and make plays."
That hasn't been a problem for Anderson thus far.