While the New England Patriots defense hasn't had the best season in the franchise's existence there is no lack of bright spots when you look at some of the young talent. One of the spots shining brightest is none other that highly touted rookie Dont'a Hightower, especially as far as his teammates are concerned. The Boston Herald collected some thought's from Patriots players and they had some pretty glowing things to say about the newbie.
"He kind of reminds me of myself when I first got in the league, and there were guys like (Mike) Vrabel and (Tedy) Bruschi that could help me along the way," Jerod Mayo said. "He’s always asking about film, always asking about extra things he can do to get better. That’s the kind of characteristic that you have to covet, someone always trying to get better."
That's a good source of praise there as Mayo has exploded onto the scene and been productive at the linebacker position from the second that he stepped into the NFL. As far as work ethic and understanding the defense, which it seems that Hightower has been able to do so far, if the rookie turns out anything like Mayo the Pats will have two young studs anchoring their defense for years to come. Judging from Mayo's words it certainly seems like Hightower has embraced the "Patriot way" and is ready to put in the necessary work to be successful with the franchise. According to Devin McCourty, he's picked up the schemes at a pretty impressive rate.
"The biggest thing is he knows the defense, and we expect him to," safety Devin McCourty said. "I don’t even look at him like a rookie anymore. When he’s on the field, you talk to him just like he’s a veteran linebacker out there. He really has, I think, turned into a veteran on this defense."
Anytime a rookie isn't seen as a rookie, he must be doing something right. For a guy like McCourty to respect what Hightower has been bringing to the table enough to acknowledge him as another veteran on the defense that is quite a feat and a very good sign for the future of the Patriots defense.
It looks like Hightower has already adapted to saying all the right things as part of the "Patriot way" as well.
“To be real, as long as I’m out there playing ball, that’s all that matters, just being honest,” Hightower said. “When I got drafted here, I understood that I was going to have different roles, but whatever Bill and Matty P ask me to do out there, I’m more than willing to do it.”
Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, every single Patriots player ever. I think young Hightower will fit in just fine.