Pats lining things up on defense


Pats lining things up on defense

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO The New England Patriots continue to stockpile defensive linemen, which isn't unusual this time of year.

But these defensive linemen aren't your garden variety, hope-to-make-the-53-man-roster types.

They can play.

They can play well.

And they can make an immediate impact, which is exactly what the Patriots are looking for from a pair of recently signed defensive ends, Andre Carter (6-foot-4, 255) and Shaun Ellis (6-5, 290).

While the albatross of expectations isn't necessarily draped across the massive shoulders of Carter and Ellis, there's little doubt both are expected to contribute.

"Any player we bring on to the team, we feel can help our team," said Pats coach Bill Belichick.

Of the two, look for Ellis to be more productive.

"Shaun's played a lot of good football against us," Belichick said of Ellis, who spent the past 11 seasons with the Pats' nemesis, the New York Jets. "Very durable player, and very consistent. It seems like every time we play them, he lines up there and we have a hard time with him."

Drafted by the Jets with the 12th overall pick in 2000 out of Tennessee, Ellis has been a mainstay in the Jets' attacking 3-4 scheme. In 170 career regular-season games, he has started 156 times while racking up 552 tackles, 72.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

His play earned him a pair (2003, 2009) of Pro Bowl berths.

While Carter's impact is a bit more uncertain, the 10-year veteran - 5 years in San Francisco and the last 5 in Washington - has been a starter for the bulk of his career.

In 149 career games, he has started 133 times with a total of 517 tackles, 66 sacks, 30 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh overall pick in 2001, Carter has had three double-digit sack seasons which included a career-high 12.5 during the 2002 season with the 49ers.

Having coached his father, Rubin, Belichick is very familiar with the player - as well as the person.

"Andre Carter's a player I spent a lot of time with prior to him coming out of the draft," said Belichick, who coached Rubin Carter while an assistant coach with the Denver Broncos in 1978. "He's a high quality individual, very professional, works hard."

And that hard work will be put to the test early and often now that he's part of a New England team that has a bevy of defensive linemen.

"That's just competition," Belichick said. "We're always looking for competition."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bennett on Goodell: 'Where is he? He's like Waldo right now'

Bennett on Goodell: 'Where is he? He's like Waldo right now'

FOXBORO -- Leave it to Martellus Bennett, the children's book author, to make a cartoon reference when asked about the lingering effects of Deflategate. 

Could hear the "Where's Roger?" chants that rang throughout Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, a reporter wondered? Bennett deflected at first. 

"Who's Roger," he asked? 

Then it was pointed out to him that the chants were directed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who opted to attend the NFC title game in Atlanta -- his second trip to the Georgia Dome in as many weeks -- instead of the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers. 

"Oh yeah," Bennett said, his memory apparently jogged. "Where is he? He's like Waldo right now. He didn't want to come here."

Tom Brady was asked about the chants as well. He had to have heard them, a reporter noted. 

"I didn't hear that chant," Brady insisted. "I did hear them singing to Bon Jovi, though, that was pretty cool."

Awaiting the Patriots in Houston will be the Atlanta Falcons, obviously, but one side plot will be the potential for a face-to-face for Goodell and the Patriots.

In the past, Goodell has handed the Lombardi Trophy to the Super Bowl winner following the game -- a tradition one would expect would continue this year regardless of who wins. The commissioner has also awarded the game's MVP award to the honoree on the morning after the game. Following the Super Bowl two seasons ago, Brady and Goodell shared a stage as Brady accepted the MVP hardware.