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Alfonzo Dennard: ‘Sometimes the quarterback lulls us to sleep’

10.16.12 at 5:03 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard said the Patriots defensive backs aren't lacking confidence. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — In the wake of Sunday’s meltdown in the secondary, the search for answers and corrections began in earnest Tuesday as Patriots players reported back to work after an off day on Monday.

The biggest question remains in the secondary, where rookies and veterans alike look to rebound and avoid getting burned by the deep ball, like the 46-yard post pattern to Sidney Rice with less than 90 seconds remaining that lifted Seattle to a 24-23 win.

“Honestly, I’m not sure,” cornerback Alfonzo Dennard said Tuesday when asked how quarterbacks like Russell Wilson can be so effective with the deep ball. “I kind of say sometimes the quarterback lulls us to sleep. They do a lot of running and then all of sudden they hit with a play-action and a big play. You have to stay focused out there.”

Dennard came in and played significant snaps for the demoted Kyle Arrington, who was benched for significant portions of the game. Dennard remained on the field playing right corner on the decisive play while Arrington came off the field, replaced by safety Nate Ebner, as the Patriots switched to a base defense.

The rookie out of Nebraska said there’s no lack of confidence in himself or his teammates.

“No, no loss at all,” Dennard said. “We’re beating ourselves out there so we just have to make more plays.

“Whatever happened back in the past is in the past so, we have to move forward. We have to make more plays on the ball. They made more plays than we did so we have to make more plays on the ball.”

Dennard said the message from the coaches in Tuesday’s meeting was pretty clear.

“That’s how it goes,” he said. “You have to always have that mindset that you can make plays. If you don’t make plays, you don’t perform well. I say we have to stay focused, stay focused on what we have to do out there. We have to play as a team and everybody has to be on the same page.”

“It is tough. Just playing cornerback is tough, anyways. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do. You have to mirror the receiver’s move, every move he makes. There’s a lot of work you have to do as a cornerback.”

Dennard said he is still learning his responsibilities as a rookie in Bill Belichick‘s system and defensive scheme.

“It’s very tough just because you have to stay focused on what you have to do on the field,” Dennard said. “I’m not going to say you have to be focused on [only] one thing. You have to be focused on a lot of things. You have to have your technique on point, mirror the receiver and just know what the receiver is going to do before you go out there.

“I know I messed up a lot on my technique. After watching film, I have a lot of stuff I have to work on.”

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