New defensive end doing his part to turn New England into (Andre) Carter Country
|08.16.11 at 5:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Andre Carter is starting to get more comfortable, which could mean bad news for offensive tackles in the AFC East.
The 6-foot-4, 257-pounder, a speed-rushing end out of Cal, was acquired by New England on August 8, and said Tuesday he’s starting to gain some ease with his new team.
“I feel great. Every day is always a progression,” said Carter. “The coaches have all been very open in terms of line of communication and vice versa, but besides that, I’m just taking it day-by-day.
“It took a minute when I first came in — the first week, I really hadn’t seen that many reps and I know the coaches were just trying to [get] me into the system. Now, like I said, it’s just a day-to-day process, and I’m just very grateful to have the opportunity to come here and work hard.”
The 32-year-old Carter didn’t play in the preseason opener against the Jaguars — which makes sense, given how little time he had in the system prior to the contest — but the amount of reps he’s had over the few days is a good indication he will get his feet wet Thursday in Tampa.
Carter, the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft, has certainly displayed an impressive burst coming off the edge (he’s gotten the better of left tackles Matt Light and Nate Solder on several occasions over the last few days), and is in the mix as one of two defensive ends when New England uses a four-man front.
Based on what he’s seen thus far, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning that there’s a lot to like about Carter, whose father played nose tackle in Denver from 1975 until 1986.
“He’s a pretty talented player — he was a seventh pick in the draft or whatever it was, so I don’t think you stumbled into that spot,” Belichick said. “He’s got good size. He’s long — he’s got some length. He’s got power, plays hard, he’s got a real good motor. [He’s] a well conditioned athlete. [He’s] strong, runs well, plays hard [and is a] good athlete.
“He’s obviously been well-coached – his family, his career at Cal [California] and so forth. He’s got a lot of things going for him: he’s a smart guy, he understands football, concepts, [he] can make adjustments quickly, works hard. [There are] quite a few positives there.”
Carter comes to New England with a rep as a pure pass rusher, and he’s had three years with double-digit sacks since coming into the league in 2001, including an 11-sack season for Washington in 2009. But to label him as a situational player — that is, just a pass rusher — is a bit of a misnomer.
“I think handling the run is a strength of his,” said Belichick.
“I think when you play this game it’s always great to be multidimensional in any aspect, whether it’s stopping the run or getting after the passer,” Carter said. “That’s something I always pride myself off of since I’ve played this sport.”
Last year with the Redskins, Carter made no bones about the fact that he wasn’t a fan of the 3-4, where he moved from defensive end to outside linebacker.
“It’s definitely a different transition,” he said of the move from the 4-3 to the 3-4. “I told everybody when you compare the number of reps from high school, college, the NFL, you take those reps on the defensive line and then you take two years of playing linebacker, one is going to outweigh the other.
“I think the positive side of playing linebacker was that it did make me versatile. I knew more about the game than I ever did through that experience.”
But now, Carter appears determined to put that period behind him and make a fresh start with the Patriots.
“No matter what team you go to or no matter what level of the season you enter, it’s always going to be a new atmosphere,” he said. “Washington was great and I appreciate the opportunity. That’s a chapter closed. A new chapter begins with the New England Patriots and I’m just going to take it in stride.
“Regardless of what happened in the past, that’s the past, and I’m a better man from it.”
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