New England Patriots Links 5/13/11 - James Sanders Still Sets Sights On Starting

James Sanders and Bill Belichick celebrate after Sanders intercepted a pass against the New York Jets.

The Meat Locker Sports Blog has a neat off-season interview with James Sanders.  Good read.

"My mindset going in to each season is to continue to work hard and to improve areas of my game. I always feel like I’m in the mindset to be the starter, regardless of who the coaches and the organization draft. Me, Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, the whole secondary, we’re all great friends. But when we go into camp I keep in my mind that I’m trying to leave as the starter."

"Last year was a weird year. Off the top of my head I can’t remember how many games I started, but it was quite a few. I approach each game, week after week, as if I’m going to be the starter. The worst thing you can do is go in unprepared. If you get thrown in the fire, you need to be ready to go. I’d rather be over prepared then under prepared. You sit there thinking you’re not going to play and of a sudden your number is called and you could potentially cost your team the game. I always want to be known as a reliable player, and for the coaches to have faith that when they put me in the game, I’m going to get the job done."

"Personally for me, I just want to improve my game each year. I know a lot of guys say it, but I just want to learn to become the best player that I can possibly be. I feel like I haven’t reached my full potential. I feel like I’m still learning more and more after each season. I just want to continue to grow in all facets of my game, run defense, pass defense, special teams… everything. I want to continue to strive to be a better player every year and I feel up to this point that I’ve been improving each year and I just aim to continue to do so. As a team, obviously the goal is to win a super bowl. I’ve come close a couple of times, but I haven’t had the opportunity to hold that trophy and get that championship ring and that’s something I still strive to earn."

"I come back home to Fresno, California and train with a small group. But my main training partner is one of my best friends, Richard Marshall of the Carolina Panthers. We get together on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 4 days a week and we just grind. Our trainer out here Steve Sabonya (Progressive Sports Conditioning) has done a great a job getting us in shape, as well as our sprint coach Josh Norman. We run hills, we have strict weight lifting regiments…the first couple weeks were brutal. But they do a great job"

Christopher Price hears from Cal coach Ron Gould about RB Shane Vereen, who says Patriots fans will love him.

“You remember watching Marshall Faulk, and you would see the things that he did over the course of his career, and you say, ‘How did he do that?’ ” asked Gould, invoking the name of the former NFL MVP. “There were times where I said, ‘How did Shane do that?’” Gould said of Vereen, who was taken in the second round of the NFL draft last month by the Patriots.

“Shane has ‘it.’ It’s hard to articulate what ‘it’ is, but he has it. When you see the things he does — his versatility, his blocking skills, his ability to run between the tackles — that’s how I would define what made Marshall Faulk successful. That’s what Shane has.”

“First of all, before you even talk about ability or those other things, you have to talk about his character. He’s unbelievable in terms of character. You never have to worry about him embarrassing the program or anything like that,” Gould said of Vereen, who was taken with the 56th overall pick last month by the Patriots. “The second thing is that he’s a fierce competitor, and he wants to win at everything he does. This guy, the last few years, he put the Cal program on his back and just did a great job. This is a kid who can carry the ball between the tackles and catch the ball in space and block. The Patriots are getting a complete back."

TEAM TALK

  • Paul Perillo writes about one of rookie RB Stevan Ridley's most memorable runs at LSU, and how he hopes to make the same impact in New England.
  • Erik Scalavino writes about the connection between the Indianapolis man who received a successful face transplant, and the New England Patriots.
  • PFW in Progress - 5/12/11: Listen to the PFW crew discuss a wide variety of offseason topics. (2 hour program)

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