Since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round back in 2006, linebacker Bobby Carpenter has yet to reach his fullest potential. In his six-year NFL career, Carpenter has played for three different teams and has only played a full season just once.
But Carpenter's career may have taken a positive turn this offseason, when he signed with the New England Patriots. So far, he's taken the opportunity and has hit the ground running.
With a lot hard work in the offseason, Carpenter earned both praise and the honor of a front-row parking place from head Bill Belichick. He's also continued to see reps with the first-team linebackers.
Besides his hard work, one thing that he's going going for him is his versatility--something that Patriots value highly on their defense.
"I think anytime you can play multiple positions you're going to help yourself," said Carpenter. "They put a premium on that here, they try to work guys around, so hopefully that's something they think I can still do and hopefully I can still do it."
Another thing the Patriots seem to love about Carpenter is his experience on special teams--something he did a lot of in Dallas, Detroit and Miami. Thus far, Carpenter has also seen a lot of reps with the special teams crew.
"They put a premium on that here as well," said Carpenter, noting that the position is nothing new to him. "Everybody is playing something, whether you're playing 60 snaps on defense or 10, they want to make sure that guys are getting in there and playing special teams. So that's something I'm excited about as well. [Scott O'Brien] is a great coach, so I'm looking forward to it."
While he's never played with the Patriots before in his career, he does have ties with the coaching staff. He played at Ohio State with Dionte Johnson, fullback of the Arizona Cardinals and son of Patriots linebacker coach Pepper Johnson. Carpenter talked about the opportunity to learn from a familiar face.
"Pepper is a terrific coach, he knows his stuff and he's a high intensity guy who relates well to players," Carpenter said. "From playing for 12 or 13 years in the NFL at such a high level, he obviously garners the respect of his players with anything he says. So you're going to listen to him, he's been there, he's been in the fights, he knows what it's all about and you've just got to take advantage of that."