Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Burgess reinforces depleted corps of LBs

It's not that the Baltimore Ravens were happy to see Preston Burgess go -- but they were happy to see where he ended up.

"Once my teammates found out I got traded," the 25-year-old linebacker said from his new locker stall in Gillette Stadium, "they said, 'That's a great move.' At least I didn't go to no team that wasn't known for linebackers."

Bill Belichick's Patriots have churned out linebackers for years: Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer and Mike Vrabel among them. But the injury to Jerod Mayo has left the Patriots short at that position for the first time in a long time. Burgess, acquired from the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday for a conditional draft pick, will have an opportunity right away to bolster the Patriots' depth at perhaps their most important defensive position.

Gary Guyton and Adalius Thomas played most of Sunday's snaps against the Jets at inside linebacker, but the Patriots' lack of depth at the position limited the looks they could throw at Mark Sanchez. If the former sixth-round pick out of Michigan can get up to speed quickly, he could allow Thomas to move back to the outside and give the Patriots another run-stuffing and pass-rushing weapon.

Getting up to speed, though, won't be easy.

Burgess is more than familiar with complicated defenses, having played his first two seasons under Rex Ryan with the Ravans. But learning one complicated defense doesn't make it any easier to learn another.

He underwent a physical upon his arrival on Tuesday night and wasn't handed a playbook until Wednesday morning -- giving him just three days to start digesting it before the Patriots' game against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. He's only received bits and pieces of the playbook so far to make things a little easier -- with the Ravens, he said, new players get the whole playbook at once -- but it's still going to be a challenge.

"It's kind of Chinese to me right now," he said, "but I'll get it."

Learning, after all, is something upon which the third-year linebacker prides himself.

"I learn from my mistakes," he said, "and I learn from the people that's in front of me. I go hard every play, and I try to be around the ball every time, each play."

No comments: