Curran: Could Pats pass rush use a little Moore?


Curran: Could Pats pass rush use a little Moore?

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - The recognizable names with long resumes keep joining, or re-joining, the Patriots. Shaun Ellis. Andre Carter. Gerard Warren. Mark Anderson. (OK, nobody really knew Anderson, but the kid had a dozen sacks in 2006.) These signings are aimed at fixing the lack of pressure brought by the Patriots front seven. It's a shortcoming that's led to the Patriots' talented secondary sometimes being hung out to dry and to the team's statistical standing to be a downright embarrassment (47.1 percent of the time opposing offenses converting on third down in 2010). But along with all the additions made in this calendar year, one made at the end of last season should be watched as well. Eric Moore, a scrub's scrub since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 draft, made plays for the Patriots after being signed off the street on December 3. In four games, he had 13 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Not the stuff of legend, but worth remarking upon. And to that point in Moore's career, there had been nothing remarkable to discuss; the 30-year-old Moore had done precious little. The Patriots signed him out of the UFL where he played after finding no team willing to take a flier on him. At 6-4, 268 pounds, Moore seems to be the kind of upfield 4-3 defensive end the Patriots could make use of as they transition to what seems to be a more attacking style of defense. Further, he's motivated. His agenda at this point isn't playing for a big free agent contract or elevating his brand to make a Pro Bowl. He is hanging by a thread and fighting to stay a part of this team. The Patriots have had myriad success stories from guys in similar situations or with older guys inclined to chase team success more than personal ones. "I'm just trying to get better," Moore said Saturday after finishing a lengthy post-practice practice with a few other defensive ends. Asked about his 2010 flurry of solid play, Moore stayed party line, answering, "That was in the past. I gotta just work on what I'm doing right now and trying to get better. ...At the end of the day, Coach Bill (Belichick) makes the decisions. I'm going to do what I can do and put good game film out there. "Moore warmed a little when talk of technique and study was broached. "I take what the offensive player gives me," he said when asked what his style of pass rush tends to be. "If he gives me the speed rush, I'm going to take it. If he gives me the power rush, I'm going to take it. Whatever he gives me, I'm taking. I just study hard. Study the offensive player and see what he's doing and try to learn what NOT to do when I go against him."During this camp, Moore has more than his share of solid drill work and pressures in 11-on-11 drills.When asked about doing well in 1-on-1s, though, Moore was bewildered. "What 1-on-1s you guys been looking at?" he asked."I been horrible in 1-on-1s. That's something I need to improve on. I'm a little rusty coming back in."Hard grader? "I'm kinda hard on myself," he admitted. "If I don't expect the best out of me, who will? I got guys watching me day in and day out. If I'm out there playing around and not doing my job, they'll see that same thing. Every mistake you make you will fix the next week or the next day. If you're a player who doesn't correct your mistakes, you won't be in the league long."Some players say that because it's the right thing to say. Moore has lived it. And that gives this often overlooked player a fighting chance to stick and make an impact in a suddenly crowded defensive end field.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32


Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.