New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich is set to enter his sixth season with the team. The defensive units that he’s been a part of over the years have been sub-par for the most part. Tom Brady and the offense were forced to account for their deficiencies. This season though, Ninkovich is confident that the Patriots defensive play will be much improved.
“I think that the NFL knows we’re going to be a better defense,” said Ninkovich. “But we have to put the work in now.”
Ninkovich understands games won’t be won based on what the team looks like on paper. Training camp is where everything comes together. He knows they’ll have to put the work in now in order to emerge as victors on Sunday.
“This is were you kind of set the tone for the season,” said Ninkovich ahead of Thursday’s start of training camp. The Patriots will also benefit from the return of Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly. All three were injured a year ago and it was crippling in many ways. The sky is the limit this season with a healthy defense taking the field.
Ninkovich says having Mayo, Wilfork and Kelly out there gives the team a boost in confidence.
Fellow defensive ends Chandler Jones and Will Smith will see the majority of the action at the position, along with Ninkovich, who recorded 8 sacks and 91 tackles last season.
With Revis roaming the secondary, the Patriots should rack up a great deal of coverage sacks. Given the versatility of New England’s defensive front and the loaded secondary, opposing teams will likely suffer through many three and out possessions.