By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO When you look at the New England Patriots defensive line, the talent is undeniable. But can the players making up the D-line stay healthy enough for us to find out how good it can be?
Shaun Ellis, among the banged-up Patriots this preseason, returned to practice on Monday after nursing a hip injury. And Ellis, a two-time Pro Bowler, understands both the benefit and the burden that comes with being part of a defensive front with such proven depth.
"Definitely a plus," Ellis said. "We have a lot of guys who are playmakers."
You can count Ellis among them, although injuries and the need to evaluate the team's unproven talent has limited his reps thus far.
With the third preseason game on Saturday at Detroit, Ellis is hopeful that he'll see some action.
"It's very important," Ellis said when asked about preseason reps. "With the offseason, lockout, the preseason is very important for us."
It's especially valuable for a player like Ellis, who finds himself suiting up for a team other than the Jets for the first time ever.
Camp thus far has been about "refining things" for Ellis.
He said, "I've played in a lot of systems over the years. For me, it's just going out there, being ready."
Ellis' biggest hurdle thus far has been his health, which he says is now as good as it's been since he signed with New England earlier this month.
And now it's all about doing what he wasn't able to do with the Jets -- contribute to a Super Bowl-winning team.
"It's all about winning," Ellis said. "I've been on the other side of this thing for a while. I had a couple chances at it; didn't come through. Still pushing, trying to get to the ultimate goal."