Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Ellis on the D-line and jump shots

By Chris Forsberg

AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaPatriots defensive end Shaun Ellis said the defensive line is still finding its chemistry.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots defensive end Shaun Ellis has stressed that the defensive line is a work in progress, particularly after the starters got limited reps together during the preseason together. Even in Week 3, the unit is still meshing and Ellis went so far as to relate it to a pregame basketball routine.

"You gotta get a feel for how [the other defensive linemen] play, where they are going to be, how Vince [Wilfork] or Albert [Haynesworth] like to [play]," said Ellis. "Sometimes you have to read off of that and it's hard to get a feel for. I kind of put it like a jump shooter, who goes out and shoots a whole bunch of jumpers all day long. You're just getting that feel, so when you get into the game it comes naturally."

Ellis has been on the field for 86 of 148 defensive snaps this season. That number could bump up a little more this week with the defensive line battling injuries (Myron Pryor went on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday, while Mike Wright has been sidelined following a Week 1 concussion). Ellis has generated a few quarterback pressures, but is still looking for that first sack.

It might not be easy to generate in Buffalo. The Bills are tops in the league in both rushing offense and scoring offense. That means the defensive line has to be prepared for a steady mix of run and pass in Sunday's game.

"They get to the run game in different ways," said Ellis, who heaped praise on the likes of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. "It's not traditional line-up-and-pound-the-ball [attack]. They spread you out, mix in some runs with the passing game."

As for New England's line, Ellis said simply, "We just have to become more consistent throughout the year."

Which means more jump shots.