One of the bright spots in New England’s Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins was the team’s defense performance, which surrendered just 13 points.
While Miami’s explosive playmakers broke through on Jaylen Waddle’s 42-yard touchdown at the end of the first half, New England’s defense kept them in check for the most part of the afternoon. That included a pair of stops in the red area which featured a third-down strip sack by Deatrich Wise Jr.
Wise Jr. was the team’s highest graded defender, and fifth highest graded edge defender in the league, according to Pro Football Focus on Sunday, stuffing the stat sheet with a quarterback hit and two hurries to pair with the strip sack.
Speaking with reporters via Zoom on Tuesday, Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington credited Wise Jr.’s strong performance to his preparation throughout the week.
“Every year, there’s something he’s working on that he’s improving - every week a matter of fact,” Covington said. “So he does a really good job studying the film, studying the opponent, studying himself — his strengths, his weaknesses what he needs to do - and it shows up on game day.
“His preparation on a week-to-week basis is top notch. True professional in how he prepares for a game and then when he’s out there on Sunday, he’s already really played that game in the practice field and within his head.”
A true professional on the field, Wise Jr. received similar recognition off this field this offseason. In his sixth-year in New England, he was voted a team captain for the first time in his career. The defensive end was also honored with the 2022 Ron Burton Community Service Award before the season for his work in the community.
“Since Deatrich stepped in this building, he’s made an impression, made an impact on everybody he’s touched,” Covington said. “I would say that’s the result of hard work, dedication, day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year. The impact and the impression, and just the character he has on his teammates.
“Obviously, that is a result of him getting that reward. And that’s nothing but respect from his teammates. They’re the ones who choose their captains. And for him, he’s always kind of been in that second-tier leadership role for us. He leads by the way he works, the way he (does) it, who he is as a man on and off the field. So, I’m proud of him to become a captain and lead this football team.”
Wise Jr. will look to carry over his Week 1 success next week as the Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.