FOXBORO – Steve Maneri’s re-introduction to the region could have gone better.
The Patriots tight end – who was with the team from Sept. 5, 2010 to Sept. 4, 2011 then played for the Chiefs before re-signing here this week – had a big opportunity to impress Friday night with the Patriots running shorthanded at his position.
But on New England’s first drive, with the offense at the Eagles 30, Tom Brady decided to give Maneri a shot on a 6-yard comeback route.
Maneri forgot it was a 6-yard route.
“One hundred percent my fault,” he said late last night in the Patriots locker room. “I ran too deep. It was supposed to be six
[yards] and I ran eight. It was supposed to be a timing route, it’s 100 percent on me. There’s no excuse that I wasn’t here long enough. We walked through that play yesterday and it’s just a lack of focus on
my part. No other excuse for it.”
Well, at least he can own a mistake. And he’ll get more chances to make up for it.
With Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams all injured, Maneri was the only tight end on the roster to suit up
He had a big workload against Philly but, if he’s to stick, the bigger the workload, the more chance to put good work on film,
“It wasn’t too hard,” Maneri said of the adjustment. ”All the guys are behind me and the coaches and they understood I’ve only been here five days. I spent a lot of time going over everything and I had some familiarity with the system from being here before. That helped a lot.”
When Maneri was here before, he was an offensive tackle. The Patriots toyed with changing his position. The Chiefs acted on it. Now, Maneri is hoping to stick in New England at his current position. Which means it aids him if those other tight ends are slow-healers.
“That’s the way the NFL is,” he explained. “It’s a next-man-up mentality. When I was at Kansas City two years ago, a friend of mine
Kevin Boss went down and I was playing for him. His opportunity came when Jeremy Shockey went down when they were with the Giants.”
Maneri is smart, strong and mobile. He’ll get a fair shot here. Unless there are more miscommunications.
“The good thing about that was, I remember saying to the coach on the sideline, ‘It can only get better after that.’ That’s pretty much rock bottom to start a game.”