New England Patriots Links 11/15/11 - No-Names Stepped Up Big-Time in Prime-Time

Terrific photo showing Andre Carter doing his thing Sunday. Beautiful.

Bill Belichick talks about some of the players who stepped up from the practice squad and made positive contributions to the game.

[Tracy White] and Jeff [Tarpinian] both stepped in there and kind of split that role at that position for pretty much the whole game. Jerod [Mayo] moved inside where Brandon [Spikes] was and Jeff and Tracy kind of played that other outside spot opposite of Rob [Ninkovich]. I think they all did a good job - not that we didn't have some breakdowns. It wasn't perfect, I'm not saying that, but overall Tracy and Jeff both did a good job with taking advantage of their playing time opportunities and making some plays and doing the right thing.

What happens when the lights go on, you never really know for sure. You have to wait and see that. Jeff has been playing all year in the kicking game, so we've seen that. Sterling really hasn't really had a lot of opportunity to play. Those guys have practiced a lot and they've certainly gotten a lot of reps in practice, so you can start to evaluate how they perform in practice, but that's not the same as games. When you put a player in the game who hasn't played in a game before, you're a little bit looking to see how he's going to react in game conditions. Some guys do better; some guys not as good. [For] some guys, it takes them a little while to get going. That's certainly a little bit of an ongoing evaluation, but from a practice standpoint, those guys - especially Jeff - have had reps all year defensively. When he's been out there - he missed some time at training camp - but when he's been out there, he's had plenty of reps on defense. And Sterling, as the weeks have gone along, he's gotten progressively more. And more this week, obviously, with [Patrick] Chung being very limited in practice all week; Sterling got more reps on defense.

Cris Collinsworth summed up what the Patriots' win meant to Rex Ryan and his team:

"[This was] crushing for the Jets - this was their moment.  They thought this was the changing of the guard night."

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