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Wednesday, 23 July 2014 19:26

Patriots Rob Ninkovich Has ‘More Confidence’ With Key Players Back in the Fold

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The New England Patriots made some key additions in free agency, but Ninkovich is just as happy to get back some familiar names this season.

Rob Ninkovich played nearly 90% of the Patriots defensive snaps last season.

He was relied on heavily and became a leader in the locker room. The leader part was more due to the fact he was the last man standing. Neither Jerod Mayo or Vince Wilfork were there to help guide the Patriots into the postseason.

“Last year it was tough when we lost [Jerod] Mayo and Vince [Wilfork] and Tommy [Kelly],” Ninkovich said “Having those guys next to you definitely gives you more confidence.”

No doubt the return of these players is giving the defense a boost of confidence, heading into training camp tomorrow. With the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason, It’s easy to forget how much the Patriots defense had to endure last year.

Ninkovich has lots of gas in the tank heading into 2014. When asked if he could play the same amount of time as last season: “Whatever it is, I’m going to be out there,” Ninkovich said of his playing time. “If it’s 90, 100, if it’s 80, I’m going to be out there playing just as hard.”

Media expectations are high for the Patriots. Ninkovich has been able to stay grounded and take it day by day. Know the NFL landscape can change at the drop of a hat.

"You guys are the media," Ninkovich expressed. "I know what the expectations are, but every year there are always high expectations just because we’re on one of the best teams in the NFL.”