FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Shawn Springs openly admits he?s a little too hard on himself, and through three games as a New England Patriots cornerback, the 12-year veteran is completely unsatisfied with his performance.
Wide receivers Terrell Owens, Jerricho Cotchery and Roddy White would very much beg to differ. While Springs hasn?t solely covered the trio — the best receivers the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons have had to offer — he has played a major role in limiting their performances on game days.
Owens (two catches, 46 yards, no touchdowns) and White (four catches, 24 yards, no touchdowns) weren?t even a factor in their team?s losses to New England. Cotchery (four catches, 87 yards, no touchdowns) was quiet most of the day against the Patriots, but his 45-yard reception during the Jets? first possession of the second half led to New York?s go-ahead touchdown.
"[I?m] not to where I like to be," Springs said. "I?m really hard on myself. I always think I can improve and play better."
Springs, one of the funniest people in the Patriots? locker room, missed a chunk of training camp and the preseason with a knee injury, but he stepped onto the field during the season opener against the Bills and performed at a high level, even if he won?t admit it. The 34-year-old did such a strong job on Owens that Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards barely looked in the wide receiver's direction until the second half.
Springs, who signed a three-year contract with the Patriots during the offseason worth a reported $10 million, said he is still working to improve after missing time over the summer. He?s working in the film room to do a better job reading offensive formations, and he wants to be a better tackler and playmaker on Sundays.
Through his first 12 seasons, the Ohio State alum registered 32 interceptions, six forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns. Springs said it?s only a matter of time before he adds to those numbers.
"I had a slot start because obviously I missed a lot of camp, but it won?t take me long," Springs said. "I just keep grinding at it and working at it every day and every day. I?m really hard on myself."