Thursday, September 5, 2013
Picked-up pieces around Patriots
By Field Yates & Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some picked-up pieces from around the Patriots on Thursday:
1. Collins anxious, but ready. Top Patriots draft choice Jamie Collins is readying for his first NFL regular-season action, and the 23-year old can't wait to take the field on Sunday.
"Just anxious," the linebacker said of his first regular-season game. "I'm anxious to play, get out here and see what this regular season is all about."
After being worked on both defense and special teams, including several different defensive spots, Collins said that he's planning to take on any role the coaching staff has in mind for him. "I'm the type of guy that's going to do -- wherever they put me at, I'm going to go do it to the best of my abilities because I'm a team player. No matter what it is, I'm going to do it. No matter if it's quarterback, I'm going to go out there and play."
And while Orchard Park, NY might feel like a world away from Collins' hometown of McCall Creek, Miss., Collins knows his supporters back home will find a way to watch his game on TV.
"They're going to find it," he said. "No matter where it is, they'll find it."
2. Kelly and Ninkovich hold court. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and defensive end Rob Ninkovich were among the players drawing bigger media crowds, giving this day a real “defensive” feel.
One of the topics brought up to Kelly was how he was coming off the field in some sub situations in the preseason, and if he felt was ready to play an entire game if need be. He said he used to do that in Oakland, adding, “this ain’t my first rodeo.” He added that while Bills quarterback EJ Manuel can make plays with his feet, he wouldn't exactly compare him to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
Ninkovich touched on how he complements fellow starting end Chandler Jones (Ninkovich is a lower-leverage player) as well as the importance of keeping Manuel in the pocket and not giving him big rush lanes.
3. White letting the coaches do the scouting. Linebacker Chris White, recently acquired via waivers, knows the Bills well, having spent two-plus seasons in Buffalo (2011 sixth-round pick) before being traded to Detroit last month. But he's letting his new coaches do the scouting report on the Bills.
"The coaches, they pretty much know a lot," he said on Thursday. "They know a lot by themselves, they really don't need a whole lot of help from me, but I'm sure it'll be a fun week, I'm looking forward to it."
He also noted that he's staying away from communicating with his ex-teammates this week before Sunday's kickoff and “sticking to myself.” For those unfamiliar with White's game, he offered a brief self-scouting report: "I feel like I play hard, I play with a lot of energy, and I prepare well. I'm just looking to win every week."
4. Hoomanawanui: Can't view Sudfeld as a rookie. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui has been a popular player for reporters this week. On Sunday, he had been swarmed after Rob Gronkowski's return to the field. On Thursday, he fielded some questions on rookie Zach Sudfeld, who projects to a significant role as the team’s top “move” tight end.
"Everyone's played a lot of football. Zach is a rookie, but he's been here long enough, and he's played in enough preseason games, where you have to throw that out the window," he said.
Hoomanawanui has been impressed with how Sudfeld has grapsed the offense, adding that "he's doing a great job asking questions and following older veterans and taking their lead."