Patriots relying on newcomers in secondary
New England’s defensive backs are trying to prepare for a
quarterback they’ve hardly seen.
The same can be said of Kansas City’s Tyler Palko getting ready
for the Patriots’ secondary, which has been spread thin by recent
”Whenever you’re number is called, you just have to adapt. See
your role and just be ready,” said cornerback Kyle Arrington, one
of New England’s few defensive backs who hasn’t been knocked out of
the lineup this season. ”You always have to prepare like you’re
going to be out there.”
Sterling Moore is coming off his first career start and
preparing for may be his second in a row. A cornerback the Patriots
picked up after he was released by Oakland, stepped in at safety as
Patrick Chung was out with a foot injury.
Antwaun Molden, who was claimed off waivers in September, had to
take over at corner when starter Devin McCourty injured his right
his shoulder during the first half of a win over the Jets.
If Chung and McCourty are still out Monday, the Patriots will
have to rely once again on some of their newest players when they
host the Chiefs on Monday night.
”It’s a great opportunity for us to continue the success that
we had in the secondary last week,” Moore said before practice
The Patriots will be going up against Palko, who is making his
first career start and has played in only two games this season.
There isn’t a lot of video to review on Palko, who replaced former
Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel.
The patched-up secondary helped keep New York’s Mark Sanchez in
check as the Patriots won 37-16. Sanchez passed for 306 yards, but
completed only 20 of 39 passes and was intercepted twice by
linebacker Rob Ninkovich.
Backup safety Josh Barrett was placed on injured reserve last
week, opening a spot on the active roster for Moore, an undrafted
free agent who went through training camp with the Raiders but was
a late cut.
”It was kind of hectic last week, especially earlier in the
week knowing that I might have a chance to get out there. A lot
more playbook study and a lot more film watching. It’s nothing that
I’m not too used to,” Moore said. ”I’m definitely getting a lot
more comfortable with the guys that I’m back there with. I know
we’ve got a lot of interchanging parts but we’re pretty comfortable
with who we’ve got back there.”
The Patriots have also been using cornerback Phillip Adams the
last few weeks. He has been off and on the active roster since the
Patriots picked him up in September after he was released by San
New England started another undrafted rookie at linebacker last
week when Jeff Tarpinian stepped in for Brandon Spikes. Tarpinian
was actually more experienced than some of his newer teammates,
subbing in six games before getting the start.
Even with all the new faces, the New England defense had one of
its best games of the season. It wasn’t enough to bump the Patriots
from last place on the NFL total defense standings, but the
Patriots played well enough to win and take control of the AFC
Andre Carter, another newcomer to New England, set a franchise
record with 4 1-2 sacks and was named AFC defensive player of the
week. The Patriots picked up the veteran as a free agent in
”All these guys, I’m talking offense, defense, special teams –
this team – works very, very hard. When you have a guy go out and
put up a performance like Andre did, you can’t be nothing but happy
for him,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. ”To be good you have to
be able to make adjustments at times. We’ve handled it well so far
and hopefully we can continue to get better.”