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Belichick likes what he sees from No. 39

08.24.10 at 12:19 pm ET

FOXBORO — If Laurence Maroney were a manager in major league baseball, maybe he would be worried today.

After all, a vote of confidence is often thought as a precursor to the axe coming down on your job in MLB. But of course, this is the NFL, and based on what Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning, it sounds like Maroney is in pretty safe in terms of job security midway through the preseason.

Belichick, asked if the running back in his fifth year out of Minnesota, had tackled his fumbling issues from last season, indicated that he was pleased with what Maroney has shown so far in camp.

“Every guy has always got something he can work on and do better,” Belichick said. “I think Laurence has worked hard and has been out there every day and taken his reps and I think he’s ready to go.

“He’s been out there every day. I think he’s worked hard, is in good condition. I think he’s improved daily because he’s been out there and been able to get the work.”

[Click here to listen to Bill Belichick talk about how Maroney has worked hard to improve holding onto the ball.]

After fumbling just once in his rookie season, Maroney didn’t fumble a carry in 2007 and 2008. But last season, Maroney fumbled four times, losing all four. Maroney is in a battle with Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor and BenJarvus Green-Ellis for playing time as a lead tailback.

All four could see significant playing time Thursday night as the 2-0 Patriots host St. Louis in the third preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

Other tidbits from Tuesday’s session with Belichick:

  • Belichick addressed the addition of offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka: “Quinn’s got some versalility, he’s played tackle, played guard, started a number of games in this league. He’s played both sides of the [offensive] line. He gives us some flexibility and we felt he could fit into our system.”
  • As for Ojinnaka’s pending one-game NFL-imposed suspension for a domestic issue in May 2009, Belichick said they did they’re background checks as they do with every player. “We do it on every player. Everything is part of [the evaluation].”
  • On facing a Steve Spagnola-coached Rams team this Thursday, the same coach who, as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 2007, designed a scheme to upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. “I think [defense] is similar to what we’ve seen from Philadelphia and the Giants, so it’s just another version of that, like the West Coast offense, going from one team to another. Different players, different individuals with a similar scheme. Same stuff, different people doing it.”
Read More: Patriots, Quinn Ojinnaka, Sammy Morris, St. Louis Rams



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