Jay Crawford (ESPN First Take) Patriots preview with CB Darius Butler. (3.38 min. video)
What did you guys learn from the loss to the Ravens last season?
I'm not sure we learned, but I know we want to get that bad taste out of our mouth and are ready to get back at it; start 2010 season off right.
There was a lot of questions about the chemistry of this team... Based on what you've seen in the off-season programs, has that been taken care of? Do you feel there is a cohesion now back on this football team?
Yeah. Definitely. Everyone is getting along. Everyone is out there for the same cause, you know, just trying to get better. There's a lot of competition on the team so that's always good. Everything has just been getting better and moving forward every day and that's our goal, to get better every day.
Did you sense there was a problem last year with team chemistry?
I can't say what I sensed or didn't. I was a rookie so I was just trying to pick up anything and everything. Now I'm one year into it I know what to expect, so it should be a better year for me personally and definitely for the team.
Darius, we know Tom Brady and the offense has pretty much carried the team the last couple of years. From what you've seen, how is Wes Welker doing? How is he coming back from that knee injury?
I'm not sure. I'm sure he's working his butt off, knowing Wes. I didn't get a chance to see him much on the preseason stuff - I'm on the defensive side - but like I said I'm sure he's working his butt off and doing the best he can to do to get back as soon as possible. Hopefully we'll see him out there soon.
You guys are very young in the defensive backfield. What's going to be the biggest key to this defense and ultimately this team's success this coming season?
I don't know. Like I said we're getting better every day since we were out there in preseason and, like you said, we're young, we're athletic and there's a lot of competition - a lot of people fighting for jobs, so that's always good. Competition always breeds success so I'm definitely looking forward to this season, this preseason and may the best man come out on the floor.
What was the thing you learned from your rookie year?
Just how to be a pro, how to prepare for games, the preparation it takes for every game - it's a lot different from the college level. On the college level your athletic abilities can take over a lot more. On this level everyone is pretty much on the same playing field and the mental takes over more. So that's what I learned most of my rookie season.
Darius we all hear about how tough it can be to play for Bill Belichick. What was it like playing for Bill based on what you heard it was going to be like playing for him?
It was pretty much the same thing. Him and my college coach, Randy Edsall, are tough guys and you know, it's all about winning on this level and any level. That's what he's about and that's what we're about. He demands the best out of us and we get the best out of him.
How many times did you see him smile during the season - was it over or under five?
You got five smiles? That surprises me a little bit.
Yeah, we got more than five smiles.
- Paul Perillo profiles rookie TE Aaron Hernandez, putting the spotlight on the Patriots fourth-round draft pick.
- Patriots Today - Outside Linebacker position battle. (4.19 min. video)
- Shalise Manza Young examines how many of the 39 rookie and second-year players on the New England roster will stick around, and in what capacity.
- Jeff Howe talks about how the Patriots can better work the tight ends into the offense.
- Russell Goldman (SB Nation - Boston) The Patriots need to show their commitment to Tom Brady now.
- Tom E. Curran notes bodog.com has the number for New England set at 9.5 wins. Eh.
- Sean Leahy (USA Today) The Patriots are in transition; does that mean they can't win?
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) Lords of the rings: the NFL's greatest coaches.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Backup QB landscape is bleak. Pats backup QB Brian Hoyer and Colts backup Curtis Painter have completed a combined 27 passes in regular-season action.
- Mike Wilkening (Pro Football Weekly) Patriots restocked roster after Super Bowl wins.
- Jason Cole (Yahoo! Sports) LB rankings:The NFL's weakening strongside.
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Harvey Unga talks up his versatility.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Keeping the rookies hungry. Teams are holding off on paying rookies to keep them as focused as possible.
- Ed Bouchette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Steelers' Tomlin receives contract extension.
- Shutdown Corner (Yahoo! Sports) Everyone's new favorite hobby: Clowning the Steelers.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Are the Jets cheapskates?
- AP (Sporting News) Union remains skeptical about HGH test's validity.
- Jamison Hensley (Baltimore Sun) John Harbaugh named to NFL subcommittee for the NFL competition committee.