Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arrington's 4 picks direct result of extra work

As many yards as the New England Patriots’ defense has given up this season, it has been opportunistic and good enough to help win five of six games.

Cornerback Kyle Arrington’s league-leading four interceptions is proof. During his Tuesday press conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick talked about Arrington’s improvement in playing the ball in the air.

“I think some of the things that we talked about with Kyle at the end of the season after the 2010 season, things that he needed to work on and the areas he could improve,” Belichick said. “One of them -- for any defensive back, they can always improve their ball skills.”

Belichick went on to explain that defensive players “don’t get very many opportunities to handle the ball,” unlike wideouts, who are catching balls all practice long.

“Your opportunities to catch the ball are limited in practice,” he continued. “It's something that you have to do more on your own. [I'm] not saying on your own, but the coach or somebody else has to set up a drill and have balls thrown to you to work on your ball skills, with a JUGS machine or whatever it is.

“That's one of things that we talked to Kyle about last year: for something for him to work on in the offseason was playing the ball, handling the ball more, his overall ball skills.”

Arrington is also tied for fifth in the league in passes defensed.

“He came into camp and even though he wasn't able to practice those first couple of days because of the rule and all, but right from the beginning it was evident that he had worked hard on that,” Belichick said. “His ball skills and judgment on the ball and decision-making on high pointing the ball or reaching for it with two hands, knocking it down with one hand -- all those kind of things that are little things, but they're really not little things, that he had worked on and improved on. They showed up from the beginning of training camp.“

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