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Bill Belichick: ‘You really can’t outwork Patrick Chung’

08.30.11 at 2:17 pm ET
By

Patrick Chung (AP)

FOXBORO — On Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t hold back when asked about the progression of safety Patrick Chung.

“Patrick’s one of our young players that’s really worked hard. He’s very diligent. He’s a hard worker,” Belichick said. “I mean, you really can’t outwork Chung — he’s here early, he stays late. He’s in top condition. He can play all the plays that he needs to play. He’s been very productive for us in the kicking game [and] defensively. I think there’s still room to grow with him, but he works hard at it. He’s had a good camp and he’s had two solid years behind him.”

When asked later what he thought of the compliment, Chung smiled and shrugged.

“I have to keep working. I have to prove [Belichick] right,” Chung said before practice on Tuesday afternoon. “[I] have to keep working and do what I have to do to help him, help the team. Get to the best of my ability so I can help the team to the best of my ability.”

The safety position has been in a state of flux since the start of training camp. The latest move came Monday when the Patriots cut ties with veteran safety James Sanders, a move that leaves Chung as one of the most senior defensive backs on the team.

“[It was a] coaches’ decision. I don’t make those decisions. I don’t put my input into those things. All I know was he’s a good friend, a good player and my hat’s off to him,” Chung said of Sanders. “He helped me a lot. He was like a coach out there. But that’s in the past now. We have to move forward. He’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. We just have to keep working with the team we have out there now and get better.”

The 24-year-old out of Oregon is coming off a season where he finished with 72 solo tackles and three interceptions. Entering his third season in the league, in the wake of Sanders’ release, it’s likely that more responsibility will be on his shoulders this season. Not that Chung seems to mind.

“I’m not worried about that leader stuff right now,” he said. “Right now we have to get what we have to get done. Period. Execute. Get together. Communication. We’re all in the same room. We’re all out there doing the same thing. We have to go from here and get better from here.”

Chung said he wants to play in the preseason finale Sunday against the Giants for several reasons, not the least of which is to erase the memory of Saturday’s ugly loss to the Lions.

“We’re on to the Giants right now. We have two days to get preparation in and execute what we have to execute, and just play our game. They’re on a short week too, so we’re both over the last game and move on to the future,” he said. “I want to play, [but] whatever coach wants. That’s not my decision. If I play all the snaps, half the snaps. It doesn’t really matter to me.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, James Sanders, Patrick Chung,
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