FOXBORO -- A fan’s interest in offseason moves is – to distill it – rooted in their desire to be entertained from August through December. And beyond.
A player’s interest goes much deeper. Who will he be working with? Who may take his job? How might a new employee help an entrenched teammate reach professional goals and increase his earning power because of the team success?
On Tuesday, it was apparent that Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich has been closely watching the work of the Patriots front office. And he likes what he’s seen.
“We’ve done some good things so far and it’s not over yet, right?” said Ninkovich during a planned media access period at Gillette Stadium. “I’m excited that Julian [Edelman] came back. He’s my guy. … With Tom [Brady], you can pretty much do anything. So offensively, we’re looking good. Defensively, just adding a couple pieces, those guys are tremendous talents. Again, as a defensive end, you’re happy to have two great corners that can shut down two receivers at the same time. That’s awesome. And we have great safeties. Defensively, we’ve improved, but we have to put in the work. That starts now.”
Ninkovich, who’s been working out steadily with Jerod Mayo, sees his teammates starting to invade the facility.
“Guys are starting to sprinkle in from traveling around,” he noted. “A lot of people go home and see their families. Now is the time to start coming back and start to get in shape, because we start up on the 22nd [for the voluntary offseason program].”
One new addition, Brandon Browner, made an impression.
“The guy is bigger than me,” said Ninkovich. “When I first met him, I didn’t know he was a corner. He’s a big, physical guy. He’s tall, long. Again, he’s another piece you can put on the field anywhere to cover a guy and shut him down. That’s another great addition that we have to our secondary.”
“Guys are starting to sprinkle in from traveling around. A lot of people go home and see their families. Now is the time to start coming back and start to get in shape, because we start up on the 22nd [for the voluntary offseason program].”
The imports are one thing. The players returning from injury – and there are many of those – are just as warmly welcomed, said Ninkovich.
“Me and Mayo are in there, he’s a pretty explosive guy, so I try to keep up with [him],” he said. “He’s looking good right now. I’ve been training with him for a long time, and it’s always good to have somebody to push you and make you better.
“I’m very motivated,” Ninkovich said. “I need to get back to that game and we have to win it this time. … It’s a lot of work and to get back there I have to do it all over again. I’m up for the challenge. I want to get back there. … I’m going to have a better year than I did last year, that’s my goal.”