New Patriots Andre Carter, Isaac Sapoaga thrown to the fire

Bill Belichick Andre Carter
Bill Belichick talks with Andre Carter during the second half of Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh. Credit: Getty Images

The Patriots defense isn’t looking for sympathy. It isn’t making excuses when it probably could make a big one: it can barely start 11 healthy, capable players on a week-to-week basis.

A quick recap: Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly – two gigantic men who made up the middle of the Patriots defensive line – are done for the year. Jerod Mayo – who was arguably the glue of the defense – is done for the year. Aqib Talib – who was having a Defensive Player of the Year-type season – has missed the last three weeks. And on Sunday, both Rob Ninkovich and Steve Gregory left the game with injuries and did not return.

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones shared his thinking on that matter after the Patriots’ 55-31 win over the Steelers.

“Like I say in every interview, it’s not who we don’t have, but it’s who we have.”

So that begs the question, who do they have? They signed an old friend in defensive end Andre Carter two weeks ago, and traded for Eagles defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga at the deadline last week. While those two didn’t fill up the stat sheet, both made marks on the game in the relatively short preparation time.

“Isaac and Andre, they went in there and competed well,” Bill Belichick said Monday. “I think [there’s] a long way to go with both of them. There are a lot of things they can do better. They showed up, made a few plays for us.

“Andre had a couple good pass rushes, hit the quarterback. Isaac was a factor on those short-yardage plays, short-yardage stops, knocked down a screen pass. But overall, there’s still, I think, a lot of work and improvement they can have but one thing about those guys is they’re willing and even though they’re veteran players, they’re very willing to spend the extra time, do the extra work.”

Players like Sopoaga and Carter aren’t the first to step in on defense. Fellow linemen Chris Jones and Joe Vellano have answered the call in perhaps a bigger role than anybody imagined at the beginning of the season.


On the year, Jones has recorded 30 tackles and five sacks. Vellano has 33 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery. The Patriots run defense as a whole could still use improving, though.

“I think they are guys that are really trying to learn the game from the ground up and learn the techniques and the things we are asking them to do,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “Certainly we’re pleased with their progression. We’re going to look for better and want better for them.”

Just when you think the Pats have taken a step back, they take two steps forward.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…