|Donald Thomas on Cardinals pass rush: Their ‘speed will kill you’||09.13.12 at 10:46 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For a 14-point favorite, the Patriots are giving a lot of respect to the Arizona Cardinals this week.
And for good reason.
Between defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, nose tackle Dan Williams and defensive end Calais Campbell, the Cardinals have plenty to be concerned with.
“Across the board, all of them have some talent, very good actually,” Thomas said Thursday. “We just have to do a great job with our technique and being able to handle their pass rush. They get after the running backs too in the run game. They move very well. We have to be able to control them and let the rest of the guys make some plays.”
Last week, the Cardinals held Russell Wilson to 18-of-34 passing for 139 yards while sacking the rookie three times.
“If your technique isn’t right and your hands aren’t right, speed will kill you,” Thomas said. “That’s the hardest thing for us. You can have those real quick, fast guys and you can try to cover them up but if you don’t use good footwork and hand placement, you’ll never get them.”
Then there’s his own situation. Thomas said he hasn’t been told anything about where he might be playing this week, or even if he might be starting. Last week, he was forced into duty when Dan Connolly came out with a head injury. On Thursday, Connolly returned to full pads practice, a good indication he’ll be ready to go – barring any late setbacks – for Sunday at right guard. So, all Thomas can do is be prepared for whatever.
“They haven’t told me anything yet, just be ready and be able to fill in when I can and when my number’s called be ready to go,” Thomas said. “With my situation, I can play center and get used to that and be able to fill in where I can on the interior line. You never know what can happen week to week and you have to be ready to go. I think we all understand that and we all know we can play multiple positions so we have to be ready to go.”
Thomas did admit one thing on Thursday. He enjoyed watching and blocking for Stevan Ridley, who finished with 125 yards on 21 carries.
“You always like to get after guys in the run game,” he said. “It felt good to get some rushing yards on the ground. You’re happy with any performance, whether it’s protecting the quarterback or running the ball.”
|Cardinals take Williams||04.22.10 at 10:17 pm ET|
My mock draft isn’t looking great right now, but let us read an excerpt. “Williams [going this late] would be reminiscent of Vince Wilfork’s 2004 slip in which a Top 10 talent fell to the twenties due to team needs.”
Williams is considered the top nose tackle in the draft and after the Bills and Chargers (who traded with the Dolphins) passed on him, such a slide appeared likely. The 6-foot-3, 327-pounder had 62 tackles as a senior.
Analysis: This and Bryan Bulaga at No. 23 are tied for the best values of the draft. Tremendous pick.
|A roundup of workout notes||03.29.10 at 11:09 pm ET|
With the draft now less than a month away, here are a few assorted notes about workouts, prospects and which players may or may not be on New England’s radar screen:
WEEI.com has confirmed that Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee recently held an individual workout with the Patriots. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder was a three-year starter for the Demon Deacons who somehow only came away with a single interception in his collegiate career. The 22-year-old fancies himself as a big hitter (he compared himself to Ronnie Lott in this interview with The Sporting News), but managed to put up some eye-popping numbers at the combine and at his Pro Day which have drawn the attention of multiple teams. At the combine, he posted a 40-yard time of 4.40 seconds and a vertical jump of 37 inches. At his Pro Day, he registered a 10-foot-2 broad jump and a 3.98 short shuttle time.
In addition, 23-year-old defensive tackle Cam Thomas of the University of North Carolina is scheduled to meet with the New England Patriots as one of their 30 official predraft visits, according to the National Football Post. Thomas is a 6-foot-4, 330-pounder who was a three-year starter with the Tar Heels, and finished the 2009 season with 23 tackles (2½ for a loss), three quarterback pressures and a blocked kick. At the combine, Thomas ran the 40-yard dash in 5.29 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 31 times. He also posted a 29-inch vertical leap. Multiple pre-draft publications indicate that he projects as a nose tackle at the NFL level. This is one guy — and one position — really worth keeping an eye on when Draft Day rolls around. If New England goes after Thomas (or another collegian who can play the nose at the NFL level), it might indicate a level of dissatisfaction the Patriots have with younger defensive linemen like Ron Brace.
And finally, University of Tennessee defensive lineman Dan Williams will visit the Patriots this week. (The news was first reported by the National Football Post.) At the combine, the 6-foot-2, 327-pounder bench pressed 225 pounds 31 times. In addition, he also posted a 29-inch vertical leap and an 8-foot-6 broad jump. Considered by many to be one of the finest defensive linemen in the draft — multiple pre-draft publications list him as a first rounder — he registered 126 tackles, 25 for losses and seven sacks in his career with the Vols.
It’s important to remember that just because a team a team invites a player to their facility, it doesn’t mean he’s a lock to be taken by them when the draft rolls around. In each visit, the team can conduct interviews and a physical, but not work the player out. While the move can sometimes indicate genuine interest, occasionally, teams have been known to artificially hype a player in hopes of making other teams think they are interested.
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