By Tom E. CurranTAMPA - Friday didn't have a lot of bright spots for the Patriots. But one undeniable positive was the play of Marquice Cole. The 28-year-old out of Northwestern who's been a journeyman personified since coming into the league undrafted in 2007, was all over the ball against the Bucs. He had two pass breakups, tight coverage that helped cause another incompletion and a solid special teams tackle and five tackles in the regular defense. That didn't stop Cole from lamenting the plays he didn't make though - particularly the two breakups that coulda been picks. "I made some plays but I left some plays on the field," Cole said. "I gotta look at the film and see how it looks on film and what the coaches decide and see came out of the game. But I think there's room for improvement."On Saturday's conference call, Bill Belichick acknowledged Cole's work saying, "I think he did a number of good things, as he has the whole training camp; made plays in the kicking game, made plays on defense."Cole took several reps in the "Star" position which guards the receiver lined up in the slot in nickel defense. Usually, that's a spot Kyle Arrington plays, kicking inside and letting Ras-I Dowling defend the outside receivers. But on Friday, Arrington stayed outside and Dowling stayed on the sidelines for the reps on which Cole played. At 5-10, 192 pounds, Cole has the same sturdy, compact build Arrington does. It's not ideal in a league inhabited by 6-4 outside receivers but there's a definite role for the waterbugs. After three seasons and 37 games with the Jets, Cole - signed in March - looks like he can have an impactful season for the Patriots. He's already looking comfortable and quick to react. "I felt confident out there," he said. "Playing in the defense for a couple of weeks now I feel I'm able to move around and pick up communications better." After a pause,Cole added, "But (sigh) I did leave some plays out there."Hey, not ideal. But considering how often Patriots defensive backs were so far from the scene they couldn't lament interceptions dropped, this represents an improvement.
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