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NFL Draft Profile - Tedy Bruschi
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***** NFL Draft Profile - Tedy Bruschi *****
Team: New England Patriots Round: Three Selection: 86
Position: Defensive End School: Arizona Year: Senior
Height: 6-1 Weight: 250
High School: Roseville High School (Roseville, California)
In his senior year, became the NCAA's all-time career sacks leader
with 52...A consensus All-American in '94 and '95, three-time first-team
All-Pac-10 selection and the 1995 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the
Year...Ended the season with 14.5 sacks for minus 96 yards, finishing second
in the nation by only half a sack...75 career tackles for loss ranks fifth
all-time...Voted Most Valuable Player in the '93 Fiesta Bowl.
Author not available, NFL Draft Profile - Tedy Bruschi. , The Sports Network,
Joel Buchsbaum's Pro Football Weekly Draft Day Preview: (as printed in Patriots
Click on thumbnail to enlarge.
PATRIOT'S TAKE UA'S BRUSCHI
Arizona Republic - Sunday, April 21, 1996
By: Paola Boivin, Staff writer
One of Tedy Bruschi's pre-draft wishes was to land on
a team with a defensive-minded head coach.
Tedy Bruschi, meet Bill Parcells. The New England Patriots selected the
Arizona standout in the third round of the NFL draft Saturday. Parcells led
the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories with a dominating defense.
"This is the type of situation I was hoping for," Bruschi said. "I can't wait to
get started. I'd been waiting for this day for so long." He was the 86th pick
overall and the 10th linebacker selected. He was the only player from an
Arizona university to be picked on the first day of the two-day draft. His
early selection quieted critics who thought his size (6 feet) would make him a
much lower pick.
He had 56 tackles and 14 1/2 sacks as a senior and 39
tackles and 10sacks as a junior. He was a consensus All-American both
years and the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1995. Bruschi's intensity and
speed off the ball made him a key component of the Arizona Wildcats' Desert
Swarm defense. Critics thought his size might keep him from having a true NFL
position because he is not big enough to play on the defensive line. But the
Patriots thought differently and expect Bruschi to add some depth to the
New England's defense takes on a new look this season,
switching from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3. The Patriots already have two inside
linebackers they feel strongly about. They gave Monty Brown, a free agent
from Buffalo, a $1.5 million contract in the off-season and have high
expectations for Ted Johnson, a second-round pick from Colorado a year ago.
Parcells did not say Saturday how he expected to use Bruschi.
BRUSCHI QUICK ON HIS FEET
Boston Globe - TUESDAY, July 23, 1996
By: Michael Madden, Globe Staff
SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- Rookies come in all the usual pro football sizes --big,
bigger and biggest -- and usually come in one of only a few styles. The
awestruck rookie. The perplexed rookie. The terrified rookie. The reticent
And then comes Tedy Bruschi.
``If they told me to play punter, I would have kicked,''
which means, of course, that he wouldn't have kicked. But Bruschi, a
third-round draft choice as a lineman out of Arizona, was at middle linebacker
for the first three days of camp and now has been switched to outside
``Whatever they want me to do, I'll do it.'
OK, all rookies
``I've got confidence in myself I can do that,'' Bruschi said of the sudden
switch. ``It's a transition I've already made. I feel comfortable with it.''
OK, most rookies say that even if all might not believe it.
Ah, but when a member of the electronic media made a statement to
Bruschi -- basically that he was fast -- the rookie did not immediately
bite the bait and babble on as most athletes do. ``Right . . . yeah . . . is
there a question in there?'' he replied.
Another media statement -- sans question -- that he was quick.
``That I'm quick? . . . that's the question? . . .
what's the question .. . what's the question?''
Another try. The Patriots haven't had much speed. The coach
said Bruschi was speedy . . .
``If he said I'm quick, well, I . . . what's the
question? You're telling me that the Patriots want speed. Everybody wants
speed. I mean, what? What? What's up, man? Talk to me, man.''
When it was mentioned to Bruschi that he didn't
look that big for a linebacker, his brow furrowed. ``I guess you hear that a
lot,'' the rookie was told.
You don't like it?
``I've heard it enough. I don't really want to talk about it.''
In sum, in short, and in substance, the rookie is a
thinking man. He listens to questions. Like when another member of the media
suggested that all these moves -- from the line to middle linebacker to outside
linebacker -- must have caused a few mental gymnastics.
``Mental gymnastics?'' said the rookie with a laugh. ``The
Olympics have already gotten to you.''
But it has been, as Bruschi readily conceded, ``a roller-coaster ride,
like I'm flipping around out there in my head,'' already giving up the DL role
for which he was so honored in Arizona's ``Desert Swarm'' defense.
``Mike'' is pro football jargon for middle
linebacker and ``Buck'' is jargon for an outside 'backer, and Bruschi said
that while he was just getting friendly with ``Mike,'' he's sure he'll be
on good terms with
``Buck'' as well.
``I think I have the mental capacity to do it,'' he
said. ``Yeah, it's a lot of stuff to learn. `Buck' has a lot of adjusting there,
a lot of things to read, and while it's a position that requires a lot,
if you just concentrate and focus in on it, it can be picked up.''
Bruschi was given word of the switch over the
weekend by defensive coordinator Al Groh, then had a chat with coach Bill
Parcells. Parcells said the move was made because the rookie has made an early
impression and because he's quick. ``Now he's outside and that's where he's
going to be,'' Parcells said. ``I didn't want to wait too long before making
the change because if you wait, then he's a week behind in his new
position and it's too late to catch up.''
The coach said he sees some similarities in Bruschi and
Chris Slade as both played defensive line in college, and both are quick and
good pass rushers. If something should happen to Slade ``then we wouldn't
have to change the defense,'' Parcells said. Bruschi, by the way, tied the
NCAA Division 1 record with 52 sacks, a mark set by the Chiefs' Derrick Thomas
``Chris Slade already has given me a lot of tips and pointers,'' said the
6-foot, 249-pound rookie. ``Chris has helped me out and I'm listening to
everything he says and everything Coach Groh says and I'm going to listen
to it all very intently.''
Slade can relate to the rookie since he was thrust
into a new position upon joining the Patriots. ``I can understand where Tedy is
coming from,'' said Slade, ``since, as you remember, three years ago I was
in the same position. Playing rush on every down, rushing the passer, having
to go to outside linebacker. It's a tough adjustment. I know.''
But Slade has seen, as have the coaches and any
fan with eyes, that ``Tedy's done a great job so far. Of course, he's learning
how to play the position, and he's listening, and it's coming on slowly, how
to play the position, but he wants to be good. He wants to learn how to
play the position.''
Mistakes will be plentiful for Bruschi, who concedes
that his chances at pass coverage at Arizona came ``sparingly.'' Slade
knows this, just as Slade recalls the many times that Andre Tippett and Vincent
Brown took him aside and gave him pointers when he was a confused rookie.
``They taught me how to play the position,'' said Slade.
``Now I just want to pass it on to him.''
turn pass-rushing Bruschi inside-out
By Ed Duckworth,
New England Sports Service 07/23/96
SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- The New England Patriots' media guide claims rookie
linebacker Tedy Bruschi stands 6 feet tall and weighs 245 pounds. The truth
is, he appears shorter and lighter.
But there is no disputing the claim that Bruschi is capable of running 40
yards in 4.82 seconds. Indeed, when his responsibility during practice is to
rush the passer, he appears twice as fast.
"He has some of the characteristics of (veteran Chris Slade)," coach Bill
Parcells said of Bruschi yesterday at Bryant College. "He's quick off the
ball, real quick."
Bruschi, the Pats' third-round draft pick out of the University of Arizona,
made the most of his speed in college. He tied the NCAA record of 52
To maximize his ability to blow past slower-reacting offensive tackles,
Parcells yesterday shifted Bruschi from inside to outside linebacker.
"I've been pleased with what I've seen from him," Parcells said. "We used him
in the middle the first couple of days just to see what he could do, but now
he's going to stay on the outside."
Bruschi isn't complaining.
"I'll try to do whatever they ask," he said. "If they told me they wanted me
to be the punter, I'd be out there trying to kick it. I just want to
Bruschi contributed plenty at Arizona, where he was an All-Pac 10 Conference
selection three years in a row. He was especially devastating as a senior when
he registered 56 tackles and 141/2 sacks, knocked down four passes and forced
"He needs to work on his pass coverage, but he's smart, aggressive and very
quick," Parcells said. "He and Chris (Slade) played the same position in
college, so my thought is that if something happened that forced us to put him
out there, we won't have to change our defense."
Slade says he has no qualms about helping Bruschi learn the ins and outs of
linebacking in the NFL.
"I understand where he's coming from totally," the former Virginia star said.
"I was there myself three years ago. Back then, Andre Tippett and Vincent
Brown tutored me. So if there's anything I can do for Tedy, I will."
Slade, who carries 242 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame, says Bruschi should
concentrate on improving his leverage.
"In this league, even if guys are bigger and stronger, you can beat them by
using your quickness. The trick is in learning how to use your hands so that
you get a good first step into the backfield."
Bruschi says he is trying to acclimate himself to the high speed of pro
"This isn't like college, where only a few guys could move," he said.
"Everybody here is fast, and the practices are a lot more physical. So there's
an adjustment you have to make. There's a huge difference in the level of
Bruschi isn't lacking for confidence in his abilities, however, nor is he
concerned about being moved to the outside.
"This is more similar to what I played in college," he said. "I'm on the edge
of the line of scrimmage, usually driving toward the inside."
Bruschi, a San Francisco native who majored in communications at Arizona,
described his experience with the Pats so far as "a real roller coaster ride.
"Things are flipping around inside my head. I was just starting to become
familiar with one set of assignments when they told me I should forget about
them and learn a new set.
"There are a lot of adjustments and new reads I have to learn, but I think I
can pick them up. I know one thing. Any time (defensive coordinator) Al Groh
or Chris Slade has something to tell me, I'm going to be listening. They know;
PATRIOTS TO USE BRUSCHI'S SPEED IN RUSHING QBS
Arizona Republic - Monday, July 29, 1996
By: Associated Press
SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Tedy Bruschi knows he isn't one of the tallest linebackers
around, so it's understandable that he doesn't want to be reminded of it. "I've
heard it enough, I don't feel like commenting on it anymore," the New England
Patriots' third-round draft choice said when asked if his compact size would
hinder his development as a professional.
Bruschi, an All-American at Arizona, is listed in the Patriots' media guide
as 6 feet, 245 pounds, although the height measurement may be exaggerated
by at least two inches.
But he's been throwing his weight around in practices, despite having to adapt
to two position changes since joining the Patriots.
Bruschi set an NCAA record with 52 sacks at Arizona. But
that was as a defensive lineman, and in the first six days of his pro career,
he's gone from being a defensive end to a middle linebacker to an outside
linebacker. "It doesn't matter that much," the 23-year-old native of San
Francisco said about the switches. "If I had stayed at 'mike' (middle
linebacker), it would have been fine with me. But the coaches said they saw
something that made them want me at (outside linebacker), so whatever they
wanted, I'm not going to argue with."
Patriots Coach Bill Parcells said he wants to use
Bruschi's explosive speed in an outside rushing lane to the quarterback. "If
we'd have waited a week, he'd get so far behind at a position that he might not
catch up," Parcells said. "I just wanted to look at him in the middle really
quick, and that's what we did in the rookie camp. I just think he's better
suited for where he is now."
Bruschi, who starred in Arizona's "Desert Swarm" defensive
scheme, said the switch to the outside is more in tune with how he
rushed the quarterback while in college. "I was making some progress (in the
middle), I was coming along with it and starting to feel comfortable with it,"
he said. "Then I got switched, so I'm sort of back to ground zero, but I've got
some great guys helping me out. "Chris Slade has really taken me under his
wing and given me some tips and pointers." Parcells said he sees Bruschi as
an insurance policy for Slade, his incumbent at right outside linebacker.
"We thought that if you put him with Slade, if something
ever happened, we really wouldn't have to change too much," Parcells said. But
playing outside linebacker involves more than simply rushing the quarterback.
Bruschi also has to learn pass coverage, and he readily admits he needs work in
"It's been a roller-coaster ride, like I've been flipping around in my
head," he said. "But I think I have the mental capacity to handle it. It's a
lot of stuff . . . there are a lot of adjustments and things to read, it's a
position that requires a lot, but if you just concentrate and focus on it, it
can be picked up."
Bruschi's self-confidence, bordering on cockiness, leads him to believe he can
meet the challenge presented him by the Patriots. "I'm confident in myself," he
said. "So whatever they put me at, I feel the confidence in myself that I can
succeed at it."
IS BELIEVING TO BRUSCHI: PATRIOTS ROOKIE LB GETTING A GOOD LOOK
Boston Globe- FRIDAY, August 9, 1996
By: Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff
SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- It seemed every other phrase uttered by Patriots rookie
strong linebacker Tedy Bruschi involved the eyes: ``I've got to see him with
my eyes''; ``I've got to read him with my eyes.''
Those aren't words that Bruschi, a third-round draft choice
out of the University of Arizona, used nearly as much, if at all, as a
The 6-foot, 245-pounder was nothing but an all-out
charger last season, tying the NCAA Division 1-A career record for sacks
with 52, joining former Alabama star and current Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro
Derrick Thomas in the record book.
During his collegiate career, including three
years as a starter, Bruschi had 74 tackles for losses, sixth among Division
1-A players, along with 185 tackles (137 solos), six fumbles and five
Now, however, Bruschi, who hails from Roseville,
Calif., has to see things being played out before him. It's not all hit the
helmet and go forward for Bruschi, who was a consensus All-American and an
performer last season.
``It's just getting my eyes right as to who to key on and
then decide on run or pass,'' Bruschi said. ``I've got all these coverages,
all these responsibilities in my head, but I've got to see what it is first and
then I can apply my role. Coach Bill Parcells says you've got to key on certain
people, you've got to get your read, and sometimes I find my eyes wandering. I
didn't do that in college, where I was a real attack player. Attack. Attack.
Attack. Now I have to read my keys and use my eyes to see whether I should
attack or drop back.
``In college, I didn't have any pass coverage. If it was a pass, I was
still going forward, still heading towards the quarterback. Here if it's a
pass, I have to go backwards and defend against the pass.''
Bruschi has plenty of company at his position -- Chris Slade
as the starter, backed up by former University of New Hampshire star Dwayne
Sabb and Bobby Abrams, who has missed nearly all of training camp with a right
ankle problem. In the Patriots' 24-7 loss at Green Bay last Friday in the
exhibition opener, Bruschi had one tackle from the line of scrimmage and also
saw action in every special teams situation.
With Slade sidelined by a groin injury and Abrams also a spectator, Bruschi is
getting plenty of action in practice this week.
``The more reps I get, the more comfortable I am with
everything,'' he said. ``Chris Slade has really been good to me and has given
me pointers. Dwayne Sabb and Bobby Abrams also having been putting their 2
cents in trying to help me out.
``I'm trying get my zone drops down, but the main thing
I've got to do is fix my eyes, where my eyes have got to be, who I have to
read, who are my keys, and once I get those things down, it's going to start to
come slowly but surely. Without Slade out there, it's given me more time and
I've been trying to take advantage as best I can. It's worked to my
advantage -- but I want him back in there real soon.''
Camp has been difficult, but that's what Bruschi expected.
``A lot of the veterans said it would be real tough, but this is all I
know,'' he said. ``I don't know what Baltimore's camp is like or what Miami's is
like. I just know this camp. This is my first one. This is the only one I
know. But I've been going with the flow.
``Comparing this to camp at the college level, this is more physical.
We weren't probably as physical as much as we are here, and the length of
the camp for one of these things here at the pro level is twice as long.
It's fast here, everybody's fast and everybody's big, but with my speed, I
can accept it.''
In the exhibition opener, Bruschi got a taste of what to
anticipate, though he couldn't have foreseen the 11-stitch cut
on his right shoulder that he suffered when he
struck a Packer helmet, forcing him to the sidelines
briefly in the third quarter. ``I had no idea what was
going on,'' Bruschi said. ``An official told me that I should
get the gash and the blood taken care of, so I went to the sidelines."
The action was flashy. ``The speed was something I had to adapt to, just
seeing things,'' Bruschi said. ``I knew it would be intense and I was out
there going 100 percent on special teams as well as from the line of
scrimmage. But it was fun. I had a lot of fun out there. My first play was on
a kickoff return and the Green Bay Packers were on the other side. I sort of
had to shake myself up there and sort of get in the moment.
``It was fun, and as the game went on, I adapted and got into things.
But for this Dallas game Monday, I'm more anxious. I got the first
one under my belt. I know what it's like. One game's not a lot, but I have an
idea what it's going to be like and I can adjust to the speed. The first game
answered a lot of questions for me -- what the speed is like, how the players on
the other side of the ball are.
``All of those questions have been answered, and
now I can focus on other things."
Such as relaxing.
RUSHERS MAKE IMPACT ROOKIE BRUSCHI, FOR ONE, QUICK TO IMPRESS
Boston Globe - MONDAY, August 19, 1996
By: Michael Madden, Globe Staff
FOXBOROUGH -- Forget about it, said Tedy Bruschi. Forget about anything and
everything in an exhibition game ``because a couple of weeks from now, you
won't even be able to remember the score. It's just one day, one game.
Forget about it.''
Forget about it?
Forget about a New England pass rush that had speed from both ends, a
defensive line that had Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer
running for cover, a pass rush that had three sacks and many more
hurries? Bless the memory of Kenny Sims, but ``New
England'' and ``pass rush'' are terms that seldom have been used in the same
sentence in the past.
Willie McGinest had an outstanding game, making Philadelphia Pro Bowler Steve
Wallace a left-out tackle this day instead of a left tackle. ``Wallace
is a cagey guy, and he's been around,'' said McGinest, ``and I had to use a
lot of different moves on him.''
But it was the rookie, Bruschi, who caught many an eye early in the first
quarter with his speedy rush from the left side. Bruschi sacked Peete once and
chased him into the arms of Mike Jones for another sack.
``I really don't have much to say to you guys now because I
want to feel good about myself when it counts,'' said Bruschi. ``It's just a
preaseason game, and when I got in there I did some good things, but I want
to do those things in the regular season.''
The draft mavens questioned Bruschi's size (he is 6 feet, 245 pounds) when
the Patriots took him out of Arizona in the third round. Bruschi may forget
exhibition games, but he does remember the words from April. ``You guys had
the most questions about me, the guy from Arizona that all the draft
analysts had questions about, but I never had any questions about myself,''
Coach Bill Parcells has had fewer and fewer questions
about Bruschi, saying after the game, ``Bruschi did some good things.'' The
defense this season, Parcells continued, ``has got better players, we've got
more speed and we're getting more pressure.''
Bruschi typifies all those elements, the speedy linebacker who lines up at
left end in passing situations and is quick to the QB. Chris Slade (hip flexor)
did not play, therefore Bruschi saw more action than expected.
``I always try to stay positive about myself,'' said
Bruschi, noting that he thought he could play in the NFL. ``I know I can do this
and I feel confident about myself and my ability.''
8/26/96 By Eric Gongola,
Standard-Times staff writer.
newcomers to the Patriots' locker room slept better than others last night.
It's cut-down day in the NFL, and that means a shake of the
hand and walking papers for eight of the players who were a part of this team
just two days ago, when New England hosted and toasted Philadelphia in the first
of two preseason games at Foxboro.
Guys like third-round draft pick Tedy Bruschi have it easy.
Or at least easier than most.
As an All-American defensive end at Arizona, Bruschi tied
Derrick Thomas' Division I-A record for quarterback sacks with 52. He has made a
smooth and convincing transition to middle linebacker for the Patriots and can
look forward to soaking up some Miami sunshine when his new team opens the
regular season in less than two weeks against the Dolphins.
Parcells credited him for doing "some nice things" in
Sunday's 31-10 dismantling of the Eagles, including a sack of Philly quarterback
"But I've heard the flip side of that when I mess up in
practice," said Bruschi, deflecting is coach's praise. "What I want to be is
consistent. I want to show the coach that I can make plays and help this team
week to week."
Week to week.
Rookie free agent Ray Lucas wishes he could view his
professional football career in such long-sighted terms. Instead, the former
record-setting quarterback at Rutgers could be shopping his business
administration degree to corporate America by the end of the week.
"The first time I came in here and saw Drew (Bledsoe) and
Curtis (Martin) I got their autographs," Lucas said. "That was the first thing
on my mind, not just to come in and play but to make sure I get their
autographs. This is a cut-throat business. I could be here today and gone
tomorrow. This is just a memorable experience for me."
Lucas tried out at safety in his first day of training camp
this summer. The next morning he was running routes as a wide receiver. These
are the things you have to do when you're trying to avoid going to work in a
coat and tie every day.
"I don't know if I've got a spot on my roster for him, but
he's an interesting kid," said Parcells after Lucas blocked a punt and chased
the ball out of bounds at the Eagles' 1-yard line in the second half Sunday. "He
told us at the half he could get one. ... Usually, when you get a quarterback,
he acts like a quarterback. But this kid acts like a linebacker."
The media swarmed Bruschi's locker Sunday afternoon like
moths on a light bulb. Quizzed about the changes in his life over the past four
weeks -- a new career, a new position, a new home -- he scratched at his closely
shaved head and joked that his new haircut posed the biggest adjustment.
Across the room, where Lucas shares a locker with kicker
Adam Vinatieri, the crowd was smaller around the 24-year-old whose NFL heroes
are his own age, if not younger.
"Earlier in camp when I knew cuts were coming I got nervous
and couldn't sleep," he said. "Now I don't worry about it. All you can do is
play. I hope I put (Parcells) in a tough position, but if I think about it too
much I'd just go back to not sleeping and won't eat right and my stomach will
start to hurt ..."
Both Bruschi and Lucas have taken their shots and dished out
even more on special teams this preseason. For Bruschi, it's just part of the
job. For Lucas, it could mean his livelihood.
"At Arizona they really emphasize the special teams and they
do that here, too, so I'm used to it," Bruschi said. "I look at it as something
you have to do to win ballgames."
Lucas sees it as that and more.
"Even when I was still in school I'd ask (former college
teammate Alcides Catanho) what are you doing down there? Everybody thought Al
wasn't going to pan out,' Lucas said, "and then he ends up on special teams and
he's making all kinds of tackles.
"Al told me no matter what happens, if they put you on
special teams, make plays. You don't have make tackles, but make plays. The name
of the game is to be physical. I listen and I learn."
Bruschi shrugged off Sunday's exhibition victory. For him,
the learning process has just begun, and he knows it. "I guess today was
encouraging, but it will be really encouraging once the regular season comes and
I'm helping this team out," he said, adding that no one remembers preseason
games after a couple of days.
Unless you're Ray Lucas, who would face a final cutdown next
Sunday, should he survive this one.
"I'll run that play through my mind every night for the rest
of life probably," he said of his blocked punt and subsequent recovery that was
initially ruled a touchdown, even though Lucas knew he had rolled his feet out
"My heart was in my throat," he said. "That was my first big
play in the NFL. I felt like crying. ... It feels good when veterans like
(defensive end) Mike Jones and even Ben Coates and Drew come up and say, "Hey,
good job.' These are the guys I was watching on television last year."
Two days ago they were his teammates. Today, they could be
nothing more than treasured autographs in a very thin book of dreams.
Tedy won't brush aside blame
Monday, November 18, 1996
FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi stood there for what seemed like hours yesterday, perhaps
hoping that the sea of questioners washing in front of his locker would simply
Poor Bruschi. Earlier in the day, in the opening minutes of what would be a
34-8 loss to the Denver Broncos at Foxboro Stadium, the Pats' rookie had dropped
a pass from Tom Tupa on a fake punt.
As if being blamed for dropping the pass weren't enough, the line of
questioning suggested Bruschi was being blamed for everything from the
all-important "loss of momentum" to the shortage of quality television
programming for children.
"I missed it," he kept saying. "I'm not one to make excuses. The ball was
right there and I missed it. It's as easy as that."
Bruschi's day caved in on him on the fourth play of the day from scrimmage,
after a Drew Bledsoe completion to Curtis Martin brought the Pats 1 yard shy of
a first down at the New England 32.
On came Tupa to do the punting. But instead of punting, the man who also
serves the Pats as a backup quarterback cocked his arm and delivered a perfect
pass to the rookie linebacker out of Arizona.
The ball hit Bruschi square in the belly. The ball came out. First down,
Denver, at the New England 32. Five plays later, Broncos quarterback John Elway
connected with Terrell Davis for the Broncos' first touchdown of the day.
"It was a perfectly executed play, and the player was in a position to make
the catch," said Patriots coach Bill Parcells.
"You try to do things to give your team a chance. We practiced that play all
week. It was perfectly executed."
Well, yes . . . all except the part where the receiver catches the ball.
"I thought we converted it when I heard the people cheering," said Tupa. "It
was there. But it was, as things turned out, one of the many things we didn't
get done today."
To his credit, Bruschi made no excuses. Any question that allowed him room
to speak of hands in his face or deflections or other intangibles was dismissed.
"I dropped it," he said for the 10th time. "It was one play. It was a big
play. Let's just say there are better days ahead and let it go at that."
Rookies inspire Patriots
Web posted 1/17/97
The Associated Press
FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) - Every once in a while, his
New England Patriots teammates remind Tedy Bruschi he's just a rookie.
The linebacker glanced toward a
smiling Chris Slade in the adjacent locker Thursday and said, ``I've still got
to buy him breakfast, and I've still got to drive him to practice.'' Other
than that, there are few signs that Bruschi is in his first NFL season. The same
goes for wide receiver Terry Glenn, strong safety Lawyer Milloy and kicker Adam
Vinatieri. All were instrumental in getting the Patriots to the Super
Glenn set an NFL rookie record
with 90 catches. Milloy started every game after Game 6 and quickly gained a
reputation as a hard hitter. Vinatieri became a dependable kicker after some
early troubles, and Bruschi was valuable as a special-teams player and
linebacker on passing downs. ``It would be a little uncommon for rookie
players to come in and play as well as they have,'' coach Bill Parcells said.
Then, he added, ``We knew that they were going to be good players pretty fast.''
They are key members of New
England's second consecutive strong rookie class. Cornerback Ty Law, linebacker
Ted Johnson, running back Curtis Martin and center Dave Wohlabaugh all were
drafted in 1995. Martin led the AFC in rushing last season, Johnson was
the team's leading tackler this season and all four have started for two years.
``I'm not going to say it's easy,'' Johnson said. ``You've got coach Parcells,
who is not the easiest coach for a rookie to play under, and the pressure that
we've been under the last month or so. ``I've been impressed with the way
the guys handled it. I don't sense any letdown from the younger players.''
In the Patriots' opening 28-3
playoff win against Pittsburgh, Glenn caught a 53-yard pass on their second
offensive play that set up Martin's 2-yard touchdown run on the next play.
In their 20-6 win against Jacksonville in Sunday's AFC Championship game,
Bruschi's interception with 1:52 left snuffed out the Jaguars' last slim hope.
Milloy has 12 tackles and an interception in the two games, and Vinatieri made
two of his three field-goal attempts against Jacksonville.
``As soon as I got on the field
in my first game, I didn't feel like a rookie anymore,'' said Milloy, a
second-round draft choice. Now they're headed to the NFL championship game
Jan. 26 against the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowls.
``I feel very fortunate,'' Milloy said. ``I guess I won't have that true feeling
of it until the year I don't go.
``We all come from winning
programs, myself at the University of Washington, Terry at Ohio State. I don't
think that we came in wanting to play like rookies. We wanted to come in and
contribute and produce early.''
Other rookies have made lesser contributions.
Running back Marrio Grier, a sixth-round pick, has been solid on special teams
and played an increased role on offense when fullback Sam Gash was lost for the
season with a knee injury Dec. 8. Ray Lucas, a free-agent quarterback from
Rutgers, was activated from the practice squad for the Dec. 15 game against
Dallas and has contributed on special teams.
``Next thing you know, you're
activated and playing the last two games, we win two playoff games and I'm going
to the Super Bowl,'' he said. The Patriots' average age of 26.19 years was
the youngest of the NFL's 12 playoff teams. Only four of their starters are
older than 30. Yet they have been extremely disciplined on and off the
field all season.
``I trust this team,'' Parcells
said. ``I have good kids on this team, and I haven't had any problems.''
Bruschi, a third-round choice from Arizona, remembers rookie camp in the spring
and living at a motel near Foxboro Stadium with other first-year players.
``We have a bond because we've
gone through the same things,'' Bruschi said. ``So it's nice to see Terry and
Lawyer and other guys do well because they're part of your class, so you feel
By Bob McGinn
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Jan. 22, 1997
protection vs. Patriot pass rush
New Orleans -- Rookie linebacker Tedy Bruschi, as
unlikely a key figure in Super Bowl XXXI as New England is a participant,
summed up the Patriots' defensive philosophy against the Green Bay Packers.
"Unnerve them," said Bruschi, a third-round draft choice
from Arizona. "Get them off their rhythm. Put pressure on (Brett) Favre."
Unfortunately for New England, only one of the six
defensive linemen that the Patriots play on a rotating basis possesses the
skill and quickness to get after Favre on a consistent basis.
That's right end Willie McGinest, a linebacker in
1994-'95, who weighs just 255 pounds.
"They have to find a way to get pressure because if
they're just rushing the front four, the only guy who has a chance is
McGinest," a personnel director for another American Football Conference
team said. "Their other guys are just run-down guys, big and thick guys who
hold up the line of scrimmage."
After 18 games, McGinest has 9 of the 19 sacks by the
defensive line. That has forced Patriots coach Bill Parcells and defensive
lieutenants Bill Belichick and Al Groh to use linebackers (14 sacks) and
defensive backs (3 sacks) to generate pressure.
That's where Bruschi comes in.
Standing just a half-inch over 6 feet and weighing only
242 pounds, Bruschi doesn't really have a position in the base defense.
Nevertheless, he tied the NCAA record for career sacks with 52 because he
has a rare knack for beating blockers with relentless effort, good technique
Playing to his strengths, the Patriots are using Bruschi
in a multidimensional role in their 4-0-7 and various other nickel packages
that caused confusion for Jacksonville in the AFC Championship Game.
"I rush the passer from defensive tackle, defensive end
and linebacker," Bruschi said. "I drop back in coverage, mirror the
quarterback, cover the back man-to-man."
On passing downs, Bruschi and one of the pedestrian
linemen man the tackles while the two speed-rushing thoroughbreds, outside
linebacker Chris Slade and McGinest, play the ends. Bruschi, with four
sacks, wears No. 54 and will stand up or put his hand down. Sometimes Slade
and McGinest will stand up, too.
"If Bruschi lines up as a rush guy, he's just a guy,"
said an offensive assistant for a recent Patriots' opponent. "But if you
have a hard time identifying him, if you don't look at defenses like that,
if you don't count him as a down guy . . . ."
The coach didn't finish his thought, but his message was
clear: Favre and the entire offense must account for Bruschi, Slade and
McGinest at all times and block them with linemen as often as possible.
Packers offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis thought the
inexperience of the Jaguars' offense and quarterback Mark Brunell were
reasons why New England's defense was so disruptive.
"I think they were (confused) and I don't know why,"
Lewis said about the Jaguars. "I don't think what they do is that difficult.
But Jacksonville is a lot younger than we are. We've seen other teams play
pretty much the same thing. That's no problem."
If the Packers can handle the three rush linebackers on
turf, then the Patriots would be forced to send five or six defenders, and
they aren't a big blitzing team. Scouts say New England uses corner blitzes
effectively from the weak side, especially from the quarterback's left.
Also, the Patriots will zone blitz involving secondary
personnel, but more often than not their blitzes will feature man coverage
They just try to bring more people than you can pick up
realizing that you then have to throw hot," an offensive coach said,
referring to the trained response by the quarterback of dumping the ball
quickly. "But if you can get them blitzing, in a situation where they've got
to blitz to stop the run, for example, and single up those corners, you can
exploit those guys."
When the Packers last played at the Superdome, the New
Orleans Saints tried to blitz and Favre threw four touchdown passes in the
first half in a 34-23 victory late last season.
"Yeah, they'll try to disrupt him (Favre) -- every team
we've played has done that," offensive line coach Tom Lovat said. "But think
of how many times he's burned those situations. I might be a little careful
if I was setting a defense this time of year for him."
Green Bay's offensive line might have played its best two
games of the season in the playoffs, but the group is admired more as a
group than as individuals by scouts who have pored over Packers' tapes in
"One thing the Packers have going for them is their
offensive line coach," a scout who has analyzed both teams said of Lovat.
"He's one of the best in the business. He gets them to play."
Green Bay has averaged 152.1 yards rushing in the last
six games. But the Patriots were sixth against the rush, and Lewis called
second-year player Ted Johnson "one of the top middle backers in the league
if not the best I've seen all year. I think he's the key to their defense."
When the Patriots insert seven defensive backs,
journeymen Mike McGruder and Jerome Henderson probably will play the slots
and safety Corwin Brown will operate almost as a cover linebacker.
"They're fairly basic," Green Bay tight ends coach Andy
Reid said. "Very, very sound. You see very few mistakes. They're going to
make you drive the length of the field to beat them.
"For right now, we have rules for the things they have
shown. We think they're good solid rules.
"Without seeing ghosts, you try to say, 'Well, what can
they do off of this to give you a tough time?' If it's different, then you
have to adjust."
BRUSCHI QUICK TO LEARN PATRIOTS' GAME
Arizona Republic - Thursday, January 23, 1997
By: Steve Schoenfeld, Staff writer
NEW ORLEANS - Rookie linebacker Tedy Bruschi has followed the instructions
New England Patriots Coach Bill Parcells gave him on surviving Super Bowl week
in New Orleans. Rule No. 1 was to keep his hands on his wallet. Parcells
also told him where to go and not to go as the team prepares for Sunday's
game against the NFC-champion Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.
"He gave us do's and don'ts about the town," Bruschi said. "He said to stay
away from certain places -- the casinos, public parks, cemeteries. I don't know
why I would want to go to a cemetery. "He said it's a town where a lot of bad
things happen. I believe him. I believe whatever he says. I'd run through two
brick walls for him."
Bruschi, the third-round draft pick from Arizona, is Parcells' kind of guy.
It doesn't matter that he's barely 6 feet. It didn't keep him from tying an
NCAA Division I-A career sack record of 52, and that was as a defensive
lineman. Parcells drafted him as a middle linebacker, a position Bruschi never
had played. But after three days at that spot, Parcells moved Bruschi to
outside linebacker, and he has been there ever since, except in certain
In the AFC title game 11 days ago, Bruschi intercepted Jacksonville
quarterback Mark Brunell once, broke up another pass and shadowed him the
entire game. "I don't have very good hearing," Bruschi said. "So I didn't care
what people (doubters) said about me. I don't look to prove people wrong. But
there always have been some questions about me. I heard the same thing
about whether I could play defensive end in college. Look at me."
Bruschi, 6-0, 245 pounds, said many NFL scouts wondered, "Can
the guy go
backwards? All through college, he was going forward." That's because he was
an attacking defensive end at UA. He never was used in pass coverage. His role
with New England is more diversified. And he has picked it up quickly.
"He's so fast and aggressive," said Patriots defensive end
Mike Jones, formerly with the Cardinals. "He gives (offensive linemen) so much
trouble with his speed. He's so versatile. He's a headhunter on special teams.
He just makes plays."
Through it all, Bruschi has been able to escape Parcells'
wrath. The coach can be brutal in practice on young players. "Coach Parcells
wants things done right," Bruschi said. "It took me awhile to realize what
exactly he wants. There was a lot of, 'Bruschi, what the heck are you
doing?' You have to realize he wants to win. Coach Parcells' way is the
Bruschi, pronounced Brew-ski, also has become a fan favorite in Green Bay because of his last name. The Cheeseheads like their brews and
bratwurst. Bruschi appreciates their support. "Hey, Green Bay, thanks a lot," he
said. "Have a drink on me."
PLAYOFFS REFLECT WELL ON BRUSCHI
- MONDAY, January 27, 1997
By: Gordon Edes, Globe Staff
NEW ORLEANS -- Brett Favre should have thought about this even before he
shaved off his beard to become more photogenic for milk commercials and the
Any time the Green Bay quarterback looked in the mirror yesterday, the plan was
for him to see Tedy Bruschi. Mark Brunell of the Jaguars and Kordell
Stewart of the Steelers could have told Favre that. They saw their playoff
losses to the Patriots through the same looking glass.
"Mirror, shadow, whatever," said Bruschi, the rookie third-rounder out of
Arizona for whom Patriots coaches devised a special role. In passing
situations, the plan goes, Bruschi enters the game with strict orders: He
must not allow scrambling quarterbacks like Favre and Brunell and Stewart the
license to roam at will. Where they go, he goes.
The Patriots could not be happier with the execution. Three
weeks ago, Stewart misfired on all 10 of his throws, did not free-lance with his
usual flair, and wound up more a zero than a "Slash" in the Patriots' rout of
the Steelers. Bruschi made two solo tackles in the 28-3 win.
Against Carolina in the AFC title game, Bruschi made two more
tackles, intercepted a Brunell pass late in the fourth quarter and
dramatically shrank the real estate in which Brunell was allowed to operate.
Result: Patriots 20, Jaguars 6.
But after seeing what Brunell had done to beat Denver, it was
obvious the Jaguars' quarterback was going to require special attention. "His
threat was so big because he could run so well," Bruschi said. "You got him
third and 5, disciplined guys are rushing the passer and the coverage is tight,
then he just sort of pops out and picks up 5 yards just by diving forward.
"We had to really put a mirror on him to stop that
tactic. I don't know if it worked perfectly, but it helped us to win the game.
It took away his scramble."
When Bruschi looked in the mirror after being drafted by the
Patriots, he wasn't sure what he saw. At Arizona, the 6-foot, 245-pound native
of San Francisco played end on the Wildcats' "Desert Swarm" defense. A
consensus All-American, he tied the NCAA record for career sacks of 52 set by
Derrick Thomas at Alabama.
The gaudy numbers bespoke a certain first-round draft pick. His size,
however, made him an in-betweener, and 85 players were picked before him
before the Patriots took him on the third round.
In training camp, the Patriots revealed their confusion about
how best to use him. The first three days of camp, Bruschi was at middle
linebacker. On Day 4, he was moved outside.
In 49 starts at Arizona, Bruschi had never intercepted
a pass or scored a touchdown. In his rookie season with the Patriots, he did
both, running back a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Baltimore
Ravens Oct. 6 and picking off Brunell.
But ask most Patriots fans, and they remember Bruschi for
the play he didn't make: He dropped Tom Tupa's pass on a fake punt on the
Patriots' first series against Denver, setting the tone for a disastrous 34-8
beating by the Broncos Nov. 17.
"It's one of those big moments where you have to be ready
for it," Bruschi said. "I messed up." That clouded the mirror, but only
momentarily. Yesterday, the mirror was back in place.
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