Kyle Love's nose-to-the-grindstone approach has served him well the last two years.
The undrafted free agent was a backup at defensive tackle his rookie year. In 2011, he earned 13 regular season starts in 16 games played as an imposing presence against the run.
The Patriots rewarded Love's work with a contract extension last week. Instead of riding this year's 540,000 exclusive-rights free agent tender out into uncertainty, he's now signed through 2013 on a new deal worth almost 3.1 million.
"It's a blessing," Love said Sunday via conference call. "I just want to continue to work hard, play hard, and keep doing my role -- whatever the coaches ask me to do. I want to continue down that road."
The timing of the extension was likely influenced by New England's release of Jonathan Fanene. But that doesn't mean Love hasn't made a case all his own this preseason.
After joint practice, he had Saints guard Ben Grubbs talking on and on about his power.
He created plenty of problems (in limited snaps) for Philadelphia's offensive line in Game 2.
When the first team defense took the field last week in Tampa, Love was there. It's where he's projected to be all season.
To most, the 25-year old tackle has come a long way from Mississippi State -- his game is bigger, his wallet is bigger.
Love sees it as the same old grind.
"Nothing really changes for me. I just want to keep doing my job and getting better every day. Working harder, and playing harder and faster. I just want to continue doing what I've been doing."