Friday, September 11, 2009

Jarvis Green makes next step in line

STEPPING UP: Defensive lineman Jarvis...

Patriots in strong position as opening night nears

By Ian R. Rapoport

FOXBORO - Out in Oakland, the drama surrounding Richard Seymour [stats]has not dissipated. Raiders officials still are waiting the Pro Bowl defensive end to show up.

At Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots [team stats] prepare for Monday’s opener against the Bills, it is just the opposite.

Jarvis Green, the longtime, dutiful defensive end, takes over for Seymour on Monday night without any frills, a transition far below the radar.

There was no motivational speech from coach Bill Belichick. No pep talk from defensive line coach Pepper Johnson.

“Nope,” Green said. “Same thing. Nothing’s changed. Just go in, fill in at right end, and do those things I’ve done in the past.”

For the first time in a career that began in 2002, Green is a presumptive starter. It wasn’t always clear that this day would arrive, but Green has stepped into Seymour’s long shadow to take his place among the first-teamers.

With a shrug, Green said Seymour was a “great player, but he’s not here.” Green may watch more film, but his routine is what it was.

“I’m just the next guy up,” said Green, the 6-foot-3, 285-pounder from Donaldsville, La. “That’s pretty much it.”

Green has started 34 of 108 games and recorded 27 sacks for the Patriots. He also is one of the longest tenured players, a key cog in the defensive machine.

He has accomplished plenty in his own right, though he has not been to five Pro Bowls as Seymour has. Still, Green didn’t love discussing the loss of his former teammate.

He answered the questions in few words, putting a proper public face on the issue, but not expounding.

If he wonders when the questions will be about his own play, that time is coming. Whether at end in the 3-4 scheme or inside in the newly embraced 4-3 look, Green likely will do what Seymour did.

Bills coach Dick Jauron won’t be caught off-guard by it.

“It’s not like we don’t know Jarvis Green - he’s a very talented player,” Jauron said. “We know their players and clearly they know their players. And they were good enough, deep enough to make this deal.”

Jauron’s line of thinking has some merit. The Patriots must have some level of confidence in Seymour’s replacement. Green was asked if he thought that was the case.

“I would hope so,” Green said. “Everybody in this locker room is here for a reason. You have guys in backup roles, and then the backup guys (have) to be ready to come in for guys who start.”

What makes him effective?

Tight end Chris Baker is a former Jet who has faced Green on several occasions. He called facing the Patriots [team stats] defensive line one of his toughest challenges, and Green was one reason.

“Strong, obviously, he’s a big guy, a little bit of (a variety of skills),” Baker said. “The total package of what you have to deal with.”

Green has shined before. In the 2004 AFC title game against the Colts, for instance, he started and had a career game with six tackles and 2 sacks.

Perhaps that why Belichick cut off a reporter who referred to Green as a backup.

“I wouldn’t call it that,” Belichick said. “He’s a good football player. He’s a solid contributor in the roles that he’s been asked to perform and they have been multiple. It hasn’t just been one thing, but over the course of his career it’s probably been everything and he’s done a pretty solid job. He might not play every play, but the plays that (he) plays are good plays.”

There may be more chances Monday than in several years.


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