New England Patriots: James Ihedigbo
November, 19, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With a Monday night game this week against the Chiefs, the Patriots essentially have an extra day of practice and media access. And for a team that preaches preparation, that extra day is a nice luxury. The flip side: kickoff feels like it might never come.
AP Photo/J.Pat CarterPatriots safety James Ihedigbo.
"[The extra day] definitely does help, but, honestly, guys are itching to play football," admitted safety James Ihedigbo. "We’re ready. We feel it’s been a long enough week. Guys are excited for Monday night."
If this were a normal Saturday, kickoff would be as little as 24 hours away (as rare as 1 p.m. games have been this season), but Monday's 8:30 p.m. kickoff is messing with everyone's routine.
"I have my same gameday routine and I’ll stick to that like it's a normal Sunday," Ihedigbo said when asked what he'll do on Monday. "Playing at night is definitely different than day, but you gotta stay focused, stay even-keeled and, when the lights come on, be ready to go."
With cornerback Devin McCourty back on the field for Saturday's practice, Ihedigbo talked a lot about battling through injuries, but offered no hints to whether McCourty might be healthy enough to sneak into action Monday night.
As Ihedigbo did when injuries cropped up at the safety position, he said others will be ready to fill his shoes if McCourty can't go.
"That's how it's been all year, guys have to seize the opportunity," said Ihedigbo. "[McCourty is] a phenomenal player, so whatever the case is -- I can’t speak for someone else -- if he’s up and he’s playing, he’ll be be flying around making plays. If a guy has to step up for him, a guy has to step up. That's what it is in this league."
For a New England team with 18 players on the injury report this week -- including Ihedigbo, who suffered his own shoulder injury against the Jets and has been limited this week in practice -- playing through pain is a necessity.
"At this time of year, you gotta continue to fight," said Ihedigbo. "Everyone in the league is battling something at this time of year. So you really look up to guys that can fight through certain injuries or whatever it might be, to be on the field and playing. You definitely look up to those guys and say, 'You know what, I gotta pick it up even more, when a guy like that is [playing].'"
October, 31, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- While there were positives to pluck from film review of Sunday's loss to the Steelers, Patriots safety James Ihedigbo made it clear that the only thing that matters to this defense is the bottom line.
AP Photo/Don WrightSafety James Ihedigbo (44) gets in on a tackle Sunday vs. the Steelers.
"I’ve never been around a group that wants to win more than the guys in this locker room," said Ihedigbo. "And winning is everything. We work too hard during the week and we watch too much tape, we study too much as a group to come up on the short end during a week that we put so much effort and preparation into. We’re definitely going to have chip on shoulder this week. I know our defense, we’re fired up. We're ready to go."
While the defense seemingly took steps forward in wins over the Jets and Cowboys before the bye week, Sunday's game was a decided step backwards as the Patriots struggled to stop Pittsburgh's passing game and get the Steelers off the field on third down. Even though New England's defense tightened up in the red zone, forcing Pittsburgh to settle for field goals and keeping the Patriots in the game until the final moments, it wasn't enough for Ihedigbo.
"You watch that tape and it’s nothing we want to represent us as a defense," he said. "As a team, we watched that, and everyone had that look on their face, like, 'That isn’t us.' What we put on tape isn’t us. We’ll correct that, and come out next week ready to show how the New England Patriots play defense."