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Consistency, conditioning at the heart of Patriots lineman Deatrich Wise Jr.’s recent emergence

Related: Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington praises Deatrich Wise Jr. for preparation, leadership

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first five years of his NFL career, Deatrich Wise Jr. was a rotational member of the New England Patriots defense. Usually playing around half of the team’s snaps in any given week, he was productive but not what you would call an every-down player.

In 2022, however, his role appears to have changed quite a bit. Through the first two games of the season, after all, Wise Jr. has a playing-time share of 87 percent. That number ranks him third on the Patriots defense and first among its front-seven defenders.

The 28-year-old has made the most out of his opportunities. Wise Jr. has been one of the best players on the field for New England both in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins and during the following Sunday’s victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Wise has really done a good job for us,” said head coach Bill Belichick after the Steelers game. “Got off to a great start in the game. Made a couple of big stops early. Did a good job with a very mobile quarterback, back there with [Mitchell] Trubisky.”

Against Pittsburgh, Wise Jr. registered four tackles and played an important role in limiting the team’s elusive quarterback to one 7-yard rushing attempt.

“I think he’s given us a lot of high quality snaps,” Belichick added. “Both run and pass and a higher number of snaps. Works really hard on his conditioning in practice. He does a lot of either extra running or a lot of running during every play, finishing plays, chasing the ball down field, things like that. He’s in good condition and is playing well for us.”

Originally a fourth-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2017, Wise Jr. has appeared in a combined 84 regular season and playoff games and has also won a Super Bowl. The second-longest member of the team’s defensive line behind only Lawrence Guy, he was voted a team captain for the first time in his career earlier this month.

His status as a locker room leader is without question, but so far this season Wise Jr. is also proving himself as one of the most reliable players between the lines as well. How comes? Whereas Bill Belichick credits his conditioning, Wise Jr. himself points to improved consistency.

“That’s one thing that I have always worked on diligently,” he told reporters on Monday. “Making sure that I’m consistent in the areas that I need to improve on, and consistent in the areas that they think I’m really good at or that I think that I’m also good at. Just showing up every day, doing the same things, working hard. That’s the only way you can do it.”

As far as his preparation is concerned, however, Wise Jr. says he has not changed anything.

“I haven’t done anything I haven’t already been doing,” he said “I feel like, like my father always wants me to do and told me when I was a kid: work super hard at what you do and improve daily, always keep chipping away at certain things, improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. I feel like that’s what I do constantly.

“It just so happens that I’m out there on the field, and I guess every time they call my name I’m ready to play.”