EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 21, 2006

For complete Colvin, sacks to come

On Pro Football

FOXBORO - Rosevelt Colvin and sacks.

When talking New England Patriots defense, the two subjects are inseparable.

Mention the former Chicago Bears' name, and the question "How many?" pops up, like a bubble on a VH-1 video.

But through two weeks of the 2006 season while preparing for elusive Jake Plummer and the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium Sunday night (8:15 p.m., Ch. 7), a healthy Colvin sits with a mere one sack.

Time to panic? Worry? Wonder if the broken hip of 2003 is stilling holding him back?

After all, with Willie McGinest gone to Cleveland, Colvin is slated for full-time work. The Rosevelt Colvin of the Bears was to make his mark here in 2006. Colvin racked up 101/2 sacks in Chicago in 2001 and 2002.

"What kind of judgments can you make in just two games?" asked Colvin's bookend linebacker, Mike Vrabel.

In fact, the Patriot are 2-0, regardless of the competition, and Bill Belichick chooses to rate his defenders - all of them - by simply one stat.

"You talk about all the defensive stats that you want to - sacks and yards and first downs and all of that - at the end of the game they're just tallying up how many points are on the board," said Belichick. "(If) they don't have very many, then you're doing something right on defense. If they have a lot, then I don't care what the stats are, it's hard to win when you give up a lot of points."

So far, Colvin and his gang have allowed 17 points each game, absolutely stifling the opponents' run (75 yards per game) and riddling opposing quarterbacks with seven sacks.

While he's had his opportunities to crank it up in the sprinter's stance and attack from the edge, Colvin is learning on the job, the same a lesson McGinest picked up early in Belichick's tenure.

"One of the big luxuries of this defense is that we have guys who can play more than one position," said Colvin. "Guys can play up (on their feet), down (on a defensive lineman's stance), inside and out. It's great to have that option."

Colvin, along side Richard Seymour, has stepped up his game against the run. So much of Belichick's defense is about setting the edge, often a chore at 250 pounds.

"Anybody would love to have just one responsibility," said Colvin. "My mentality as a player is that I love sacks. You tell me I can rush all day long, then let's get it done."

With the Patriots ever-changing formations and calls, Colvin learned early that all-out QB rushing wasn't going to happen here.

Ironically, Colvin and other Pats defenders were barraged yesterday by questions about the emergence of Ty Warren along the other side of the defensive line. Part of the reason Warren (11 tackles) enjoyed such a big day is because the Jets ran right at him, away from Richard Seymour and Colvin.

A week later, the Patriot defense is better for it. Now, where will Denver choose to run?

"You just have to understand it's a team sport, and everybody's role will vary, down to down, game to game," said Colvin. "If you've got guys mature enough to handle it, it makes it all the more successful."

Colvin chooses to point to his tackle totals (nine through two games) as opposed to his sack count when judging his play. A week ago, he was one of the only Pats defenders not to miss a tackle.

The Purdue product will always remember what brought him here, though.

"I try to do the best I can rushing the passer," he said. "I like showing my speed, getting off the ball and making it look like I'm fast. But it depends on the situation, if the opportunity is there, and that's what the defense calls for."

Foxboro fodder

Last night's Rolling Stones concert had clearly taken over the stadium, with a monstrous stage dominating the south end of the field. ... Recovering fullback Patrick Pass donned Deion Branch's No. 83 knit winter cap while seated at his locker during the media time. ...

No surprises on the opening injury report for the week, other than the absence of Corey Dillon, who chose not to talk yesterday. Matt Light, probable with a knee injury, was the only real addition.

Safety Artrell Hawkins, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur and rookie receiver Chad Jackson all were listed as questionable.