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Sterling Moore still can’t watch the final quarter of Super Bowl XLVI

04.05.12 at 9:00 pm ET
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Sterling Moore had an eventful 2011, going from undrafted free agent in Oakland to starting defensive back with the Patriots. (AP)

Unlike some of his teammates, Patriots defensive back Sterling Moore has gone back and watched Super Bowl XLVI. Well, most of the game, anyway.

“I’ve watched the first three quarters of the game — I refuse to watch the last quarter,” Moore said Thursday when asked about February’s loss to the Giants. “That’s just me — that’s just my opinion. Of course, people want to talk about the game all the time and what happened on that last drive.

“It’s tough, but I have no problem talking about it. I can watch the first three quarters, but I can’t watch the last quarter, especially that final drive. Of course, I know my view is a little different than some of my teammates, but to each his own.”

The 22-year-old defensive back had a whirlwind 2011, going from Oakland’s practice squad to playing a major role in New England’s secondary. Even after he joined the Patriots, he remained a relatively anonymous face for several weeks: There was the famous story of him shopping at Best Buy and being mistaken for an employee, and in his first start against the Jets in a nationally televised game in November, NBC didn’t have footage of him for their intros, and so they had to use a headshot.

But he finished the year with three starts, seven tackles, two passes defensed and two interceptions in the regular season. And he found himself in the thick of things in the postseason — he broke up what would have been a sure touchdown pass in the waning moments of the AFC championship game when he knocked the ball away from Ravens’ receiver Lee Evans. And he had a pair of passes defensed and three tackles in the Super Bowl loss to the Giants.

Now, with the season three months in the rearview, he’s allowed himself a little time to look back on a memorable year, both for himself and the Patriots’ secondary.

“I’ve sat back and had the chance to reflect on what we were able to do as a team. We clearly made a great run to get to the Super Bowl, and as a team, we wish it could have been a better outcome,” he said. “But it was an up-and-down here for me. I feel like I definitely finished well, and I’m just trying to keep that momentum going into the offseason, and continue that going forward.

“As a secondary, I think we’re where we want to be right now. Personnel-wise, we took some heat last season, but at the end of the day, we know what we can do. We showed late in the season and into the playoffs, our defense, and the secondary in particular, can compete with opposing offenses.”

Going forward, Moore is certainly far more comfortable than he was at this point last year. The SMU product wasn’t considered an elite prospect — he was an undrafted free agent — and because of the lockout, he faced a world of uncertainty. (That included rehab because of knee surgery he underwent after his senior season with the Mustangs.)

Now, he’s not only healthy, he’s got himself a team, and a relatively stable position in the New England lineup. That means more positional drills this offseason — he’s been working with coaches in Texas over the last few months — as opposed to rehab or positional drills that prepare you more for Pro Days and private workouts instead of actual football activities.

“A lot of the training I’m doing now is footwork and technique and other positional drills, as opposed to the stuff we did last year, like the 40 times and the vertical jump,” he said. “It’s a lot more of the stuff I’m doing on the field than the testing stuff. It’s a lot more fun — definitely different than what I did last season.”

He was able to flash some good positional versatility in 2011, moving between corner and safety. (His first three games in New England, all starts, he was at free safety. The rest of the way, he was almost exclusively used at corner.) In 2012, he’s pretty much up for anything.

“Personally, I’m excited. I’m going in expecting to learn safety, as well as nickel corner and regular corner,” said Moore, who said he’d be there when players are allowed to report to the facility on April 16. “I’m pretty sure it’ll be the same as it was last year — my mindset is to be ready to learn all three positions and contribute at all three if necessary.”

Read More: Lee Evans, Sterling Moore,
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