BOSTON (CBS) — After a 3-0 start to the season, there is some chatter surrounding the New England Patriots about another perfect regular season.
Is this talk a little premature? It certainly is. Even with the offense clicking this early in the season a lot can happen over the next 14 weeks of football, and the Patriots still see plenty of room for improvement.
New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich took some time to chat with WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Adam Kaufman on Monday, and said the team isn’t focused on what their record might be a few months from now. All they’re concerned with is getting better during their bye week, and beating the Cowboys in two weeks.
“Right now we’re just focused on working on ourselves and getting better through this bye week. You just have to just really look at it week-by-week and focus on your next opponent,” said Ninkovich. “We’re going to go to Dallas and play a good team and you can’t look beyond that. That’s not what you do. We’re going to focus in on ourselves and try to become a good football team. Everything else isn’t going to help you.”
While fans and some media members have visions of perfection after watching the first three weeks of the season, Ninkovich says the defense has a lot to improve on.
“As the season progresses you want to continue to improve and be a better football team. I know we’re 3-0 but there is always room for improvement. As a defensive player, the previous two games we’ve let up some points at the end of the game that you really don’t want to see,” he said. “We need to continue to improve and get better, push forward and get better during this bye week.”
After watching Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles connect with Allen Robinson for a 59-yard touchdown on Sunday, Ninkovich highlighted big plays as the defense’s biggest concern at the moment. He says combating those big plays downfield starts with controlling the line of scrimmage.
“Some of those plays we can prevent by just shoring up our techniques. It all starts with stopping the run, and I wasn’t happy with myself the first couple of games. I need to be better on the edge,” he said. “When it comes to team defense; it’s everybody. Everyone being on the same page and understanding gap responsibility, executing at a higher level… Just little things with technique and understanding what your responsibility is on any give play and just doing a better job overall. We have a long way to go here and just have to continue to improve.
As for his bye week, Ninkovich said he was going to take it easy down in the Big Easy and enjoy some gumbo and jazz clubs.
Ninkovich also recalls Tom Brady throwing his 400th touchdown, and his reaction when he saw Danny Amendola give the ball to a fan: