Thursday, November 3, 2011
Time is right for Price
By Chris Forsberg
Mike Rodak/ESPN BostonWide receiver Taylor Price hopes to make an impact Sunday vs. the Giants.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots wide receiver Taylor Price admits he's excited by the potential for more snaps moving forward after offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien suggested earlier this week that he'd like to get the second-year player more game reps.
"Obviously I’m excited to get on the field more," said Price. "It's never a good situation to be on the sideline, watching your team play. You always want to be in the game -- be in those close games, going to battle, going to war. But nothing’s changed for me -- keep going to practice every day, keep preparing every day. Just keep working hard and see where it takes me."
Price, a third-round pick (90th overall) in the 2010 draft, was inactive for New England's first 15 games last season before debuting in Week 17 against the Dolphins (he caught three passes for 41 yards while playing with reserve units). Injuries slowed him again in the preseason this year and Price was inactive for the first three games, but has seen his playing time slowly increase. He played six of his seven offensive snaps last week in Pittsburgh.
Now he stands to see a greater workload as the team's third receiver (potentially leapfrogging Chad Ochocinco), and maybe an even more elevated role if Wes Welker's neck injury limits him this week. For his part, Price said his hamstring woes are in the rear-view mirror.
"I’m healthy, I'm feeling good, my leg’s feeling good, that’s a big part of it," said Price. "To be out there more consistently, put practices back to back, put games back to back -- just, like I said, it's about being more consistent, being out there more. So there’s not that inconsistency, you can see someone out there every day, improving every day, that’s a good sign."
Price said he hasn't changed his routine with the potential for more playing time this week. He's still putting in extra time after practice running routes, particularly timing routes. He said he's watching film and going over the game plan with the quarterbacks and coaches, trying to put himself in position to thrive when called upon.
Despite the lack of snaps during his pro career, his confidence has never faltered.
"I've always had a confidence in myself and my game, it’s just a matter of getting comfortable in the offensive system, being comfortable with the quarterback and getting on the same page," said Price. "And just being there, being reliable for the quarterback to go to."
The Patriots' lack of a consistent deep threat has been well-documented in the post-Rand U era. Price thinks his speed and ability to stretch the field could add another dimension to this offense. He proved it last week, operating out of a one-receiver set and beating his man on a deep route across the field. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, under pressure and moving in the pocket, did a poor job of setting his feet and floated the pass behind Price, resulting in an incompletion.
Asked if he puts extra pressure on himself in those situations, Price smiles and laughs -- a clear indication he does, even if he maintains otherwise.
"It can get that way, but you can’t let it get that way," he said. "I just try to go into practice preparing like it’s a game -- each and every play. So when it comes to the game, it's not much different. OK, go out there, run my routes to the best of my ability -- go make a play. It’s not much added pressure."