Monday, August 20, 2012

Pats' Ninkovich on move to DE: 'I'm pretty strong'


New England Patriots' Rob Ninkovich is moving from linebacker to defensive end this season.

And according to the 6-foot-2, 260-pound veteran, he's more than capable of making the switch.

“I’m pretty strong. I’ve always been pretty strong," Ninkovich told the media Thursday. "I think that tight ends I’ve been able to handle them pretty well, tackles, both of them at the same time. I should be all right."

Ninkovich had two interceptions against the New York Jets last season and two more the year before against the Miami Dolphins, proving he's plenty capable of dropping into coverage.

However, Ninkovich (photo right: Jeffrey Beall, Flickr) is a little more sack-happy these days, setting up shop on the defensive line. He's taken down the quarterback 10.5 times over the last two regular seasons.

"I’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s just something that you work on, you get your techniques right, you get your hand placement right and especially in that position it’s more about technique and leverage than it is just brute strength," Ninkovich, 28, said.

With the Patriots drafting two front-seven defenders in Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightowever in the first first round, a shakeup in the defensive lineup was inevitable.

Ninkovich was more than happy with the changes.

“Well, coming into camp I knew that obviously there were going to be some changes—there’s always change in training camp—so I was able to go to a position I’ve played before, which is defensive end," he said. "It’s a little more of go get the quarterback, go get the ball type mentality, so it’s fun for me.”

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