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Updated    12/05/10

7:54 PM

Site now pretty much in archive mode.

Go Pats!

1997 Season

Click here for entire Bruschi Article Archive

IT'S A MEAN SCREEN PLAY TRIGGERS A TEAM SCUFFLE
Boston Globe  - THURSDAY, August 7, 1997
By: Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff

PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK
SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Some Patriots -- coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Drew Bledsoe among them --  figured  yesterday morning's practice was the team's finest of training camp. It certainly wasn't lacking in intensity. Or contentiousness.


    Team  spirit  reached  new  horizons on a screen pass to running back Curtis Martin. As he caught the ball, the Pro Bowl running back was belted, head-on,  by  outside  linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who never left his feet and never circled his arms in bringing down Martin.


    Nevertheless, it provoked passionate reaction. Offensive tackle Bruce Armstrong was upset by the force of the hit applied to one of New England's primary  offensive weapons and went after Bruschi, hitting him from behind. Both  the  offense  and  defense then spilled onto the field to take up the cause of their comrades before order was restored.


    "I  doubt  this is the first day that we've hit," Martin said. "We've been hitting like this before. It just happened to be one hit that everyone sparked  up  about  and  there was fire. To me, I wasn't mad. It was a good hit. I liked that. It just shows that mentality our team is going after it, and  we  needed it. I personally wanted to take a hit like that to see if I would be able to hold on to the ball."

 

    There  was  no  fumble  on  the play, and Martin was not injured. But Armstrong apparently didn't want to take any chances.


    "Bruce  was just looking out for me, just making sure I'm not beat up out  there,"  said Martin, "and I really appreciated it. I thanked him five times for doing that -- not that I want him to beat up on Bruschi."


BRUSCHI PROVES TO BE AN IMPACT PLAYER
Boston Globe - FRIDAY, August 15, 1997
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff

SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Tedy Bruschi is reluctant to be labeled the Patriots' resident kamikaze. When  Bruschi  makes  a  hit, you can not only see it but hear it -- and sometimes even feel the vibration.

 

    "I  was just never afraid to fly in there and see what happens," Bruschi said.  "If  I  flew in there and it hurt, then fine, it hurt. That's great, and  I'd get more encouragement to keep going. Kamikaze? I don't know about that.

 

     "We  used  to play football when I was a kid. I used to play tackle with no  pads.  That's  sort of different. I don't know where it originated, but I'm not afraid to fly and suffer the consequences. But  in  contrast  to his wild on-field persona, Bruschi is a quiet sort away from the game.


     "I don't do such crazy things off the field," he said. "Playing football is  the  craziest  thing I have going for me right now. No reckless abandon off the field, no. That's not me."


    The  former  University  of  Arizona defensive end, who has been shifted primarily  to  linebacker  but  still  plays on the line at times in nickel situations, was a third-round draft pick two years ago. The rap was that at 6  feet  1 inch, 245 pounds, he was too small to play in the NFL. And if he did make it, the assumption was he'd forever be a role player.


    If  he's  that  now,  then  he's  a big-time role player. If there's one player  Pete  Carroll  has  mentioned  more than any other in glowing terms throughout camp, it's Bruschi.


     "His  upside  is  tremendous," said Carroll. "There's no limit as to how good  he  could  be. He can do so many things on the football field, but we really like him as a pass rusher. He gets after it."


     He's  almost  like a police dog sniffing for the goods. When he sees the quarterback  out  there  and he's in a rushing or blitzing situation, "It's like  a  metamorphosis,  I  guess,"  he said. "But I think my mentality has changed  since  I  played  linebacker.  There's a lot of dropping back into coverage,  but  sometimes  something clicks in my head when I'm supposed to blitz  and  go  get the passer or when they make the defense in the nickel. Something  happens.  I hope someday I can treat all coverages the same, but right  now  I'm  not  as comfortable as I want to be playing the linebacker spot."


     Bruschi  knows  his  strength  is getting to the passer. He is tied with Kansas City's Derrick Thomas (Alabama) for the all-time NCAA sack record of 52.  He  also  ranks  sixth in NCAA history in tackles for losses -- 74. He sacked  the quarterback 14 1/2 times his senior year for losses totaling 96 yards. He made 19 1/2 tackles for losses totaling 110 yards as a senior.


    He carries himself confidently, fearlessly. Hitting hard and playing the game at 100 miles per hour are his calling cards.  "That's  a  big  fraction  of  what  it  is  that got me here now," said Bruschi.  "The numbers aren't the best on me in terms of height and weight. When  I  walk  into  a  room,  people don't say, `Wow, there's Tedy Bruschi walking  in.'  Sometimes  when  they  see  me  play, they say, `There he is again.' "


    He's  a  tough kid who grew up in San Francisco and in Roseville, Calif. He didn't play football until his freshman year at Roseville High. He was all-conference and all-Northern California as a defensive tackle, a  top  shot  putter  and discus thrower, and he wrestled as a heavyweight. After  arriving  at Arizona in 1991, he got hurt, first with a pinched neck nerve  and  then with a broken left thumb. He was redshirted that year, and the  following  year,  he  was  switched  to  outside linebacker. Though he started  only one game, he finished the season with 4 1/2 sacks. By '93, he was  back  on  the defensive line, sacked the quarterback 19 times, and was the team's MVP as a sophomore.


    By  his  junior  year,  Bruschi  had  become  an  All-American and was a finalist  for  the  Lombardi  Award as the top lineman in college football. That domination continued into his senior year. "One  thing  I  thought  coming out of college is I knew this would be a different  game,"  said  Bruschi, "but I was going to treat it the same way mentally.  I  was gonna treat it like something I was gonna succeed at and saw  it  as  a  challenge. And I want to do the best I can and meet it full steam.  If that's not good enough, then that's not good enough, but I'm not going to have any regrets.


    "That's the same way I approached it playing high school football when I was  14  when  I first put on the pads. I approached it the same way when I was an 18-year-old and the same way when I was a rookie last year."


Bruschi  kept  showing  up  on  special  teams last year. He recovered a blocked  punt  at Baltimore Oct. 6 and returned it 4 yards for a touchdown, his first at any level. Then he started being used in nickel situations, finishing the year with four sacks and 11 tackles. Two of his sacks were in the Super Bowl.


    But  he  came into camp having to prove himself to a new coaching staff. He  had  to  overcome  a  knee  injury suffered at the midpoint of the 1996 season,  though  it  wasn't  publicized.  He  played  through  the pain and discomfort   the  rest  of  the  year  before  Dr.  Bert  Zarins  performed arthroscopic  surgery to repair a small tear. Bruschi sat out the minicamps while recovering. "There  are  a  lot  of  question  marks  because they hadn't seen me do anything  except  what  they saw on film," said Bruschi. "I think if anyone had  a  lot of questions, there was a lot of things I had to have answered. There  were  times  when  I  couldn't  practice because there was pain, and coming  into  the second practice, the two-a-days were tough. The pain is a lot better than it was last year before the surgery. Dr. Zarins did a great job.  It's  100  percent  better.  I  can't  wait  until  Friday when those one-a-days start."


    Bruschi  knows he's behind Chris Slade, Ted Johnson, and Todd Collins on the  depth chart. He knows that in order to become a regular fixture on the defense, he has to learn his craft better. "I don't think it's paying my dues," he said. "It's just learning how to play the position and reading things and reacting to them."


     He didn't mind it when Carroll called him a freak the other day during a press conference because the coach has seen Bruschi do things others can'  "It's OK to be a freak once in a while, I guess," he said, smiling.


    "I'm  not a monster, either," he added. "Everybody likes to hit. I'm no going  in with the attitude that I'm gonna rip this guy's head off, but I'm gonna hit him hard."  You can count on that.

 

BRUSCHI IS STEPPING IN FOR COLLINS
Boston Globe - SATURDAY, September 6, 1997
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff
PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK


FOXBOROUGH - The  Indianapolis Colts should expect a "few new wrinkles" by the Patriots' defense  tomorrow,  one  being  that  Tedy  Bruschi  will  start at outside linebacker  in  place of Todd Collins, who will suit up but is still tender from a hamstring injury.


    The  Patriots  will  likely  be  missing  defensive  end Willie McGinest (hamstring),  who ran but didn't take part in full drills yesterday; center Dave  Wohlabaugh (ankle); and wide receiver Terry Glenn (ankle). Cornerback Steve Israel (knee) might suit up.

 

    McGinest  said,  "It feels better every day, but I still don't know if I can play. I have to talk to the medical people."  One  Patriots  official thought McGinest probably would be held out for the  second straight game in favor of Mike Jones, who had two sacks against the Chargers last week.


    Bruschi,  who has been an exciting player in third-down situations, will get his first chance to be a full-timer. "I  think  there'll be emphasis on me this week," said Bruschi. "I think I'll get some attention. I think I've had a good week of practice. I've got my  reps in and I have a little better understanding of the position than I have in the past."


    Bruschi  will likely be used a lot to rush QB Jim Harbaugh, though he'll also have to assume some of Collins's coverage duties. "It's  all  mental  for  me now," said Bruschi. "We have a few different wrinkles to keep them off balance.

 

     "The transition has been coming along well. Sometimes I go sideways, but I've  tried  my  best to recognize things. Believe me, it's been tough. The more experience I get, the better I'll be." Bruschi  was a defensive lineman at Arizona but was too small to play up front in the pros. It was current special teams and former linebacker coach Dante Scarnecchia who first recognized he could play behind the line.


    "Tedy  looks  very much at home," said coach Pete Carroll. "He still has some  aspects  of  the game that will become natural to him in time. But he can play the position quite well. He has special rush characteristics about him."


    With  Bruschi  starting  and Collins playing only if the second-year man has  a hard time, Carroll said he'll rely more on rookie Vernon Crawford to back  up  at the outside spots. The Patriots decided in camp to go with six linebackers.  Carroll  said he has a contingency plan if another linebacker gets hurt but wouldn't divulge it.

 

Football; Bruschi steps up
KEVIN MANNIX
Boston Herald
Saturday, September 6, 1997

FOXBORO -- The week before his first NFL start, second-year Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was in the headlines for getting hit by the league with a $7,500 fine for last week's "helmet-to-helmet" hit on Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries.

    Behind the headlines, there was a good story about a good player who will start for Todd Collins at outside linebacker tomorrow at the RCA Dome when the Patriots take on the Colts.

    As a collegiate player at Arizona, Bruschi played defensive end well enough to collect 52 career sacks, tying him with Derrick Thomas for the NCAA Division 1-A record. The skill was there, but at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds,
NFL scouts considered him too small to be a defensive lineman. And because he'd never played linebacker, teams were hesitant to use a high choice on him in the 1996 NFL draft.

    But a year earlier, the Patriots had gambled a third-round pick on an injury-plagued running back named Curtis Martin - and that didn't turn out to be too bad a decision.

    So last year, the Patriots took another third-round gamble and grabbed the aggressive but undersized Wildcats star.

    Bruschi played special teams most of the year while the team experimented with him at various positions. Late in the season, he was inserted into the dime defense as a pass rusher. He responded with six sacks - two in the Super Bowl. In the AFC championship game against Jacksonville, he had four tackles, two deflections and an interception.

    Exit Bill Parcells and enter Pete Carroll, whose defensive philosophy emphasizes good pass rushers. It was clear Bruschi would have a place in the new regime. The question was, where? That's where special teams coach Dante Scarnecchia - Parcells' linebackers coach last season - came in.

    "We didn't get to see a lot of film on him," Carroll admitted. "Even in the (pass rush defense) he was on the line. But Dante recommended highly that, given time, the guy could be a linebacker who could be an effective player behind the line of scrimmage, as well as a pass rusher.

     "I think he was very accurate," Carroll said. "Tedy looks very much at home there."

    Bruschi looked so comfortable at linebacker that, by the end of training camp, the Patriots released veteran Monty Brown. Todd Collins was the starter, with Bruschi the backup - as well as a regular participant in the pass defense units.

    "Watching Tedy in practice," Scarnecchia recalled, "we saw the instincts of a linebacker. He could find the ball even though he'd never been trained at the position. He also played really well behind the line in coverage."

    It may have looked easy, but Bruschi said looks were deceiving.

    "There was no way I was comfortable at first," Bruschi said. "Last year I didn't know a hook-drop (pass pattern) from anything. I had no clue. I couldn't read run from pass. All I'd ever done was attack, attack. Having to switch to linebacker, where you have to read and react, was a big change. You have to totally turn your brain around.

    "I'm not where I want to be, but it's night and day from where I was a year ago. I need to get some experience under my belt."

    And fast. Knowing he's a first-time starter, the Colts will probably target him.


 (from)  These are the players I'd want in my foxhole.

(NFL Insider)Pompei, Dan,.

The Sporting News,

12-08-1997


Outside linebackers:

 

Tedy Bruschi, Patriots and Ray Lewis, Ravens.  Bruschi, a non-starter, gets a spot because he goes after the passer  as if he were on fire and the quarterback was a pool. He'd be the  first volunteer to dive on a grenade. Even as a rookie last year,  Lewis was the acknowledged leader on a defense full of veterans. Ravens  vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome says Lewis never  has been intimidated.

 

 

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Tedy Pages -->

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