The New England Patriots are gearing up for what will hopefully be another deep playoff run. This team has always been viewed as the crew that's been there before. However, breakout players including Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Dont'a Hightower, and Chandler Jones are new to the most important part of the NFL season. Now, the question is whether this inexperience will have an affect on them or not.

Talib seems to think that it won't. In an interview after practice, he was quoted saying "I've never been to the postseason, but I'm not a rookie or nothing," and then followed up with "Once we get out there and the game starts, it's still football." Talib believes that the best way to gain insight on playing in the postseason is to simply go out there and do it.

OK, so the veteran isn't worried but what about the rookies? Dennard, Hightower, and Jones have had a lot on their plates since making their Patriots and NFL debuts. The argument could be made that Hightower won two national championships in college with Alabama. At the same time though, he has been thrown into a league of professionals. As is the case with all rookies; the game is faster, the schemes are more difficult, the competition is tougher, and the pressure is unreal. 

So in the end we'll see how these players perform come game time. Realistically, they may stumble a bit coming out of the gates with all of the hype surrounding the playoffs. The pregame jitters will probably be evident at the beginning. Like Talib said though, in the end it's still football. After a couple drives the game will be the main focus. The fly over, introductions, national anthem and all other distractions will be a thing of the past. All the small pieces will fall into place, and these guys just need to go out and ball-up like they've been doing.

Anthony Aidonidis 1/05/2013 03:35:00 PM Edit

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