Patriots gridiron news: Eric Lee steps up, earns Belichick’s praise


Linebacker Eric Lee has stepped up in a major way for the New England Patriots earning major praise from head coach Bill Belichick.

Eric Lee who?  Not only are fans asking that question, but so are teammates.  Just two weeks after the New England Patriots signed the linebacker off the Buffalo Bills practice squad, he has made an impact on defense in an unexpected way.

Credit Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for not only recognizing the talent of Lee, but putting him in position to make plays on the field.  In the team’s 23-3 win over the Bills this past Sunday, Lee was the spark that really got the defense off and running.

Not only did he halt Buffalo’s opening drive with an interception off of Tyrod Taylor, he contributed with 1.5 sacks and four total tackles.  Overall, his energy and ability to do his job when put in the right positions has earned a subtle praise from Belichick.

"“Well, he’s done the things that we’ve asked him to do and he’s done them at a pretty good level,” Belichick said during his conference call Monday.  “I mean, he’s only been here a couple weeks, so there’s still a lot of things for him to learn and there are finer points on various plays that, when he sees them again, he’ll recognize them quicker or react a little bit differently.  But, overall, he’s done a solid job for us in the things that he’s been asked to do.”"

Belichick went on to emphasize Lee’s increased role on Sunday, but said any future role will depend on the game plan and the team they are facing.  With Eric Lee’s performance when given the opportunity, at least the team knows he be in the right places.  For that, the stoic head coach said the team is glad to have him.

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It’s only be two games, but it looks like the New England Patriots found themselves a player.  Once again, that player has come from the Buffalo Bills.

Patriots can clinch AFC East in Week 14

It didn’t seem like it would be another easy ride for the New England Patriots, but the team has an opportunity to clinch another division title in Week 14.

In fact, the defending Super Bowl champions can wrap up the AFC East before they take the field on Monday night.  If old friend Jacoby Brissett can lead the Colts over the Bills on Sunday, the Patriots can clinch.  If not, the team will control their own destination with a win over the Dolphins in Miami.

As far as clinching the top seed in the AFC, the Patriots could do that by Week 15 if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Baltimore Ravens next week.  That would give New England a chance to clinch with a win over the Steelers in the much anticipated Week 16 matchup.

Next: New England Patriots: 5 observations from win over Bills

In that scenario, the Jacksonville Jaguars will also have to lose against Seattle on Sunday.