New England Patriots Links 9/13/12 - Belichick Brings Rookies Back to Reality; Defense is Having a Ball

The effective mix of veterans, young players and rookies on defense is making the league start to notice.

Mike Reiss notes Bill Belichick took a reporter's question about the rookies as an opportunity to serve up some "humble pie".

"Are you kidding me? They've played one game," Belichick said, his tone suggesting that he appreciated the opportunity to knock Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower and Co. down a peg. "I don't think any rookie has all the answers after one game. I don't think any experienced coach has the answers after one game either. I mean, it's one game. Everybody needs to be coached, everybody needs to improve, there are a lot of things that everybody needs to do better, and I would put the rookies at the absolute top of that list. "Like not behind anybody. They would be No. 1. It's going to get a lot harder for them before it gets easier, I'll tell you that."

Karen Guregian sees the Patriots front seven starting to make waves, and they're having a blast.

Listening to Mayo, and even listening to Wilfork talk about the front seven last week, the two veterans speak glowingly about this group. Both of them are really enjoying what’s going on, and seeing how it’s all coming together.

"It’s fun playing with Spikes, Hightower, those guys up front. They love football," Mayo said. "That’s why I cherish every moment because these are football guys we’re out there with, not guys that are doing it just because they can. These are football guys, they love the game. . . . These guys want to be good. They want to get better. It’s always good when you have guys staying late, and guys getting in early. That shows how much they want to improve.

"It’s just about having that blue-collar mentality, going out there and trying to get better every day. We know we have a lot of improvement to make. That’s what we’re focused on."

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