Friday, October 7, 2011

Ellis, Ihedigbo across enemy lines Sunday

It’s not uncommon for a player to hit free agency and, since his last team could not afford to renew his contract (or whatever the case may be), a divisional foe is able to add him to their roster. Or, a team finds the player expendable enough to give him up to a rival via trade.

There are dozens of examples of both throughout the AFC East’s last decade alone. Danny Woodhead. Brad Smith. Drew Bledsoe. Ty Law. Lawyer Milloy. Curtis Martin. Wes Welker. Sammy Morris. Heath Evans. Chad Pennington. The list goes on and on. I, however, will not.

This week, as the New England Patriots get ready to host the New York Jets Sunday afternoon, a couple 2010 Jets are now wearing Patriot colors. Defensive end Shaun Ellis and defensive back/special teamer James Ihedigbo, who were donning the green and white the last time the two teams faced off, both will line up against New York’s sputtering offense on Sunday, and their mentality is much different now compared to when the team came into Foxborough in the playoffs and handed New England its first home loss of the season.

Their goal, however, remains much the same.

“Obviously, it’s in the back of my mind,” Ellis told reporters earlier in the week, acknowledging his feelings toward his old team. “I’m just looking to play what the defense calls for, not get outside of my element. Just go out and play my game. I just want to play my technique, just read my keys, and play my assignments. Be relentless, fight through guys, get tackles, get sacks.”

It’s also not rare for players to give whatever inside information they can to their new team once they’ve changed allegiances, but it’s probably an over-exaggerated part of the team-changing process. Teams like to change up game plans as much as possible, especially when a former teammate or two have been added to the opponent’s roster, and even more so when they’re facing a familiar division rival.

So when the media rushed to get juicy quotes from two former Jets now in the Patriots locker room, there really wasn’t much to say that’s any different from any other week.

Same goes for the always outspoken and candid Bill Belichick, if you can believe that one.

“Every week we either have somebody that’s been with their team or they have somebody that’s been with our team,” Belichick told the media. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Could somebody give you some useful information? Yeah, I’m sure they could.

"In the overall scheme of things, in 100 percent of the preparation, I would say that kind of information is one, maybe two percent at the most. They have plenty of guys who have played here. (We have) Woodhead, Ellis, James ... I think that’s vastly overrated.”

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