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Chandler Jones on Patriots D: ‘Without swagger, you’re not anything’

09.02.12 at 4:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There’s a very fine line in the NFL between swagger and overconfidence.

In training camp, the Patriots defense showed they might be able to return to the form of the mid-2000s when Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel led a defensive group that knew it had the other team beat before they stepped on the field. Time after time, the defense broke up plays by Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer. There was yelling and back-slapping as defenders like Patrick Chung, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo whooped it up on the field and on the sideline every time a big defensive play was made.

The faces have changed but the team remains the same and these Patriots are determined to be known as much for their big-play ability on defense as they are on offense.

‘€œThat’€™s big for any player,” Devin McCourty said on Sunday of the role swagger plays during an NFL game. “To play in this league and to go against the top players every Sunday, you have to have that confidence, you have to be able to take the field and believe in yourself and your teammates, and I think we have that right now.

‘€œI think what’€™s important to keep that is to keep getting better each day in practice. Confidence comes from you doing the right things in practice and watching film. We’€™ll continue to do that and get ready to go.’€

Even rookie Chandler Jones understands the importance of the “S” word.

‘€œSwagger? Without swagger, you’€™re not anything I feel like,” Jones said. “I have to have swagger to play this game.’€

Then there’s Bill Belichick‘s take on playing with a healthy dose of confidence. Asked if swagger were among the most important traits of a good defense, the Patriots coach threw out some words that are direct by-products.

“I think the important things are all the other things: confidence, playing well, making plays, being excited [and] enthusiastic about making those plays and doing those things,” Belichick said. “We go out there and work hard and go through a lot of drills and practice and preparation and then to go out there and execute it and have it work well in practice and to make a play ‘€“ catch a pass, score a touchdown, have a long run, sack the quarterback, intercept a pass ‘€“ we should be excited about those plays because we worked hard at them to make them become reality, especially when it happens in games. I think you like to see all of those things.

“You like to see the confidence, the aggressiveness, the production and the enthusiasm and excitement that’€™s genuine with that production ‘€“ those are all things we emphasize and embrace. I don’€™t think you win any games talking about them, I think you win games by performing and we try to emphasize that.”

Read More: Brian Hoyer, chandler jones, Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
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