FOXBORO, Mass. — By listening to Andre Carter on Saturday, you'd never know he was the Patriots' most active pass rusher during the team's preseason victory against the Buccaneers.
Carter continuously abused Bucs left tackle Donald Penn and spent more time in the Tampa Bay backfield than some of their running backs. If nothing else, Carter proved he could be the Patriots' best edge rusher since Willie McGinest.
But Carter was hung up on the things he said that didn't go well, particularly one missed tackle on a draw play when he allowed himself to get too deep into the backfield.
"I wouldn't say I played well," Carter said. "I'm definitely my own worst critic, but it was just great to get a feel for a live-game situation. There are some things I need to improve on as far as run [defense] and definitely tackling. I was rusty on my tackling, but overall, it's definitely a stepping stone."
Carter said he'll work on his tackling technique with "reps, reps and more reps" at practice, and the frustration was definitely genuine, as opposed to coach speak. Obviously, the Patriots should be thrilled that Carter can make such an impact and still be ready to ruthlessly work to improve his overall game.
"It was, like I tell everybody, a stepping stone, a starting point to where I need to be," Carter said. "I still definitely have a long way to go and just perfecting my technique. I mentioned tackling as one key thing, but overall, I just take it day by day."