June 12, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich (50) takes questions from reporters after mini camp at the Gillette Stadium practice facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
During the 2012 NFL Draft, the New England Patirots' plan of attack was simple: defense, defense, defense. Specifically the pass rush. With three of their first four picks, the Pats drafted defensive ends Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette along with linebacker Donta' Hightower to try and develop what has been a work-in-progress pass rush.
In addition to their draftees, the Pats also signed veteran pass rushers Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott to the mix, to try and establish a more sound quarterback attack. With new faces comes new lessons to learn, something that many of the returning Patriots already know when it comes to learning the playbook.
Veteran DE/OLB Rob Ninkobich certainly knows how tough it can be to master that always tricky Patriots playbook. In speaking to reporters on Tuesday at team minicamps, Nink says that player grouping at this point in the offseason is both helpful for incoming rookies and veterans.
"It really doesn't matter. It's kind of everybody out there trying to work together and guys playing all over the place just to get that team going together so everyone is communicating and on the same page."
"It's always good for the young guys to get out there with the old guys and vice versa. Everybody, like I said, communicating, knowing what's going on around them at the same time."
ARRINGTON LOOKING TO FOLLOW STRONG SEASON
For all that was made out of the Patriots secondary in 2011-- whether it was Devin McCourty's struggles or rookie Ras-I Dowling's injury-- there was one hidden wonder that really blossomed last season.
Patriots veteran Kyle Arrington, who had to assume a lot of responsibility with a thin secondary, was able to persevere through it all and end the season as the NFL's leading interception man with seven. While it's unlikely that he'll repeat as the league leader, he's hoping to continue improving his game and reach the next level.
"Things here and there - little things. We all feel comfortable and confident at this level but it's the little things that ultimately get you to where you want to be as far as concentrating harder on techniques when you're tired, still focusing on little things like that."
"I think just as individuals and ultimately as a team, we're just trying to build on things we do well and improve on things we did not so well. It's the perfect time to work on our communication as a unit so we're trying to take full advantage of that."
STALLWORTH ADJUSTING TO PATS OFFENSE, AGAIN
No matter if you are with an organization for one year or your entire career; if you leave, things may change. That's just one of the things that Patriots wide receiver Donte Stallworth has had to face during team practices.
Stallworth, who was with the Patriots in 2007, has been taking some time to try and re-learn Josh McDaniels' playbook. Although most of the playbook is familiar to him, there are still a few road blocks he's run into.
"The main offense is pretty much still the same," Stallworth said. "In any offense, I've been in about a thousand of them, in any offense there's always going to be different tweaks and things like that. That's what the offseason is for, the spring is for, and training camp is really to solidify those things and get ready for the season."