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New England Patriots Links 8/19/10 - Patriots vs Falcons Preseason Action Tonight

Robert Mays asks Brandon Spikes, "How does a star at the highest level of college football, the leader of one of the nation’s best defenses, come under so much scrutiny throughout the NFL draft process?"

"I just look at it as, ‘That’s life,’ ’’ said the Patriots rookie linebacker. "That’s the way it is. I know deep down that I’m a football player and I really love this game. I play with a lot of passion and a lot of energy, and that’s all I can handle — what goes on on the field. I kind of block all that [other] stuff out.’’

"I don’t want guys to think, ‘Oh, he’s a rookie. He might be second-guessing.’ I just want them to be confident that they can trust me and know that I’ve got their backs.’’

"I want to be an accountable player if my number’s called,’’ he said. "I just want to come in and get the job done."

Ian Rapoport notes Tom Brady has jumped onto the running-game bandwagon because he knows how much balance helps keep a defense honest.  Kevin Faulk agrees.

"It’s great because if a team can’t stop (you at) the line, you’re just going to keep running it," Brady said. "That’s the reality. You control the whole game if you’re able to run the ball. Problems are when you can’t run the ball and it’s one-dimensional."

"It helps in any area but especially in the red zone because it’s that much (closer)," running back Kevin Faulk said. "Guys are not 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage - they are up there. If you put eight, seven, nine guys in the box to stop the run (it’s easier to pass). When you’re able to run the ball, they have to be honest on the pass, as well."