Ihedigbo has it down Pat

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
4:30
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a blog post earlier today titled "Quick hits from the locker room", commenter "DinoScapelli" asked the question: "Is James Ihedigbo becoming some kind of spokesman for the DBs?"

It was a good observation, and the thought was to take it one step further in this space.

Ihedigbo has become one of the more widely quoted Patriots players. He makes himself available to reporters as much as any other player in the locker room, and often provides insightful commentary on the state of the team. He also seems to enjoy it, having fun by sharing bits of information such as the nickname he's given receiver/defensive back/returner Julian Edelman -- "Slash."

Listening to Ihedigbo, the thought comes to mind how he's made a smooth transition from the Rex Ryan-led Jets (2008-2010) to the Bill Belichick-led Patriots.

Those are two different worlds.

But even more than that, Ihedigbo has capitalized on the opportunity presented to him because of injuries.

When he signed with the Patriots in training camp, Ihedigbo (6-1, 214) was initially pegged as a special teamer who was on the bubble to make the roster. He broke through and made his initial contributions in the kicking game, with just 28 defensive snaps over the first four games.

But when injuries sidelined Patrick Chung and Josh Barrett, and Sergio Brown struggled, Ihedigbo got the call at safety. He earned his first NFL start against the Jets in Week 5, and since that time has averaged 61 defensive snaps per game while serving as a steadying presence who helps get defensive backs lined up properly. He's also played through a shoulder injury.

More than a "spokesman", Ihedigbo has been one of the team's unsung performers in 2011.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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