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Rob Ninkovich on M&M: Tom Brady fall last week ‘a scary situation’

08.19.13 at 12:53 pm ET
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Rob Ninkovich

Rob Ninkovich

Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich joined Mut & Merloni on Monday, and he admitted he was a lot like everybody else when New England held its collective breathe during Tom Brady’s injury scare last week.

There were a couple nerve-wracking moments after Brady hit the ground, Ninkovich said.

“That’s a scary situation, but that’s one thing you have to deal with in football. Things unexpectedly happen,” Ninkovich said. “Happily, he was fine and everything turned out OK with us. … He’s the best quarterback in the league, so you want to keep in upright and OK.”

While Brady proved the knee was not an issue in the team’s second preseason game, a 25-21 win over the Buccaneers, Ninkovich and his defensive cohorts did what they could to show they’re closer and closer to regular-season ready, too.

When the hosts noted the four first-half sacks, Ninkovich said it was a good sign, especially considering Tampa Bay is the Pats’ Week 3 opponent.

“When you can come out as a defense and start fast like we did, it really helps you kind of set the tempo for the rest of the game,” Ninkovich said. “Any time as a defense you can come out in a third-and-1 situation and get a sack on the first series, sack on the second series, sack on the third series, it’s a good start. Right now, preseason we’re still working to tighten everything up.”

Two of the youngsters playing with Ninkovich, defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower, are starting their second season as pros after successful rookie campaigns. Ninkovich — entering his eighth NFL season and fifth with the Patriots — said the difference between the two seasons can be huge.

“Rookie year is pretty tough,” Ninkovich said. ‘”These guys go from the end of their college career to off train somewhere — Arizona or some place — then they go to the combine and have all these meetings with these different teams and are traveling around. Then you get to the team and have mini-camps and rookie camp, you go to training camp and you really don’t know what to expect.

“Now that they’ve had their first year under their belt in the NFL and have done this, they’ve made plays, now they have their confidence — been there, done that. Now they had a nice offseason to get their minds right and then start getting strong and getting back into football. The second year, they know what to expect. Sixteen-game season, plus playoffs, is a lot different from college.”

To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones, Dont'a Hightower, Rob Ninkovich, Tom Brady
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