Chung happy with his debut
|08.17.09 at 12:17 am ET|
FOXBOROUGH — For a professional debut, it was pretty good.
Wearing No. 25, rookie safety Pat Chung saw his first NFL action in the Patriots’ preseason opener against the Eagles Thursday in Philadelphia. He came away with five tackles, a pass defensed and a blocked field goal. Operating mostly with the second defense, he was able to get some serious playing time, going deep into the second half.
In addition, he showed a big play ability with some impressive hits on Philly’s Danny Amendola and Eugene Bright, and nearly had a sack on Philadelphia backup quarterback A.J. Feeley late in the fourth.
His overall assessment?
“I did all right,” shrugged the second-round pick out of Oregon, New England’s first overall selection in the 2009 draft. “There’s so much stuff that goes on during the game. There’s a couple of things I did right, there’s a couple of things I did wrong. I just have to improve off that.”
The 5-foot-11, 212-pound safety was one of 11 New England rookies who got their first taste of NFL action — albeit the preseason variety — against the Eagles. Many of them did well, including seventh-round pick Julian Edelman (75-yard punt return for a touchdown, as well as 136 total yards from scrimmage) and sixth-round pick Myron Pryor (a sack of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb).
“I think all of our rookies that played, they all showed some good things,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “They all had plays that were positive, and they also had things that showed they have a lot of work to do, and a lot of things they could have and probably should have handled better than they did. So that’s part of the learning experience.
“It’s the first NFL game, even though it wasn’t regular season. It’s still an NFL game for them and that was a good experience. Everybody’s got to have their first one, and get it under their belt so our players did that.”
Chung confessed to being nervous out of the gate, but he recalled Sunday that once he got a couple plays in, the butterflies disappeared. He was still impressed by the overall speed of the game, a big change even for someone who came of age in the big-time world of Pac-10 football.
“Everybody’s fast,” said Chung, who will turn 22 on Wednesday. “Everybody’s fast and everybody’s good, so you just have to have your ‘A’ game the whole time.”
Now, after getting the first one under his belt, Chung is excited to try and build on that for Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Bengals.
“You have to improve from the first game — I would hope so,” he said. “I’m just going to keep working, keep getting the experience from these older guys and just help the team.”
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