Patriots defense ready to hit for real against Eagles on Friday

Rob Ninkovich and the Patriots defense will get to hit for real against the Eagles on Friday night. Credit: Getty Images
Rob Ninkovich and the Patriots defense will get to hit for real against the Eagles on Friday night. Credit: Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA — After two days of playing patty-cake with Eagles quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles the Patriots defensive line is ready to hit someone for real.
Yes, practice is practice, they concede. And it certainly has value, both sides saying these joint workouts the past two days have beneficial. But nothing beats game day.
Friday can’t come soon enough when this week’s gracious hosts and their appreciative guests can put the niceties aside and get down to business in the preseason opener.

“Yeah, I’m sick of tagging off,” said Rob Ninkovich, now in his second season on the D-line after starting off as a linebacker. “I’m ready to wrap up and take someone to the ground.

“But this (joint practice) isn’t a game. The quarterbacks aren’t live, so I’m gonna treat them as I would my teammate.”


D-linemate Vince Wilfork, who finds himself the senior member of Bill Belichick’s defense in his 10th season, says it comes with the territory.

“You just have to know how to be a professional,” said the 31-year Wilfork following a practice that was bumped up two hours due to expected nasty conditions and ended just as the rain began to fall. “You have to have good practice habits … I always try to practice smart. We don’t go ‘full go’ and take down. We’re not taking them to the ground because we’re so used to it as pros.

“But on game day everything’s live. You can go through your progressions and make tackles. You can be a little bit more aggressive, bump guys and be physical on game days. You practice to get prepared for game day.”

Unlike the offense, which is going through a radical facelift, particularly at the skill positions, the Pats’ defense in 2013 will look much like last year’s. That’s especially true for the front seven, with journeyman Tommy Kelly the only new addition to a unit that returns all but one of its top 17 tacklers.

But they’d prefer to downplay that, saying what’s in the past doesn’t matter, focusing instead on tomorrow night as the first step leading to opening day in Buffalo next month.

“It’ll be good to see everyone against different competition,” said the 29-year-old Ninkovich, who led the 2012 team with eight sacks. “When you play your own team you don’t get that same feeling as going against someone else.

“The competition level rises a bit. Friday we don’t want to see drop-off in the level of play when the personnel changes.”

Ninkovich’s eyes light up when asked how to attack a team using the read-option, considered a staple of Kelly’s teams in Oregon.

“I enjoy that,” admitted Ninkovich. “That read option for me is a green light to hit the quarterback. When you’re running that play you turn your quarterback into a running back. But Vick’s body of work speaks for itself. When he scrambles it changes things.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

Music

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act,…

The rocker is releasing two new passion projects.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…