FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots return almost everyone from a defense that ranked among the NFL’s top 10 in yards and points allowed last season, with Chandler Jones being the only notable departure.
It’s no surprise, then, that free-agent signees Terrance Knighton and Chris Long both know nothing will be handed to them as they begin their first offseason as Patriots players.
?I only want to get better,” said Knighton, a defensive tackle who spent last season with the Washington Redskins after two with the Denver Broncos and four with the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I?m not going to try to be a savior or anything. I?m just going to come in, do what I do best, be stout up the middle, get good push up the middle and just do my job and do what I?m asked by the coaches.”
Long, who spent his first eight NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams before signing a one-year contract with New England in March, has a similar mindset.
?I love the way we go about business,” the veteran defensive end said Thursday after the Patriots wrapped up their third day of organized team activities at Gillette Stadium. “I love getting out here and competing. It was a competitive couple of days.
“I have a lot to worry about to get to the point where I can do my job the way I want to do it here. There?s a lot of learning for me, and I?m excited to learn and pick it up. You?ve just got to be a sponge.”
Knighton and Long both have plenty to offer New England’s already-stout defensive unit, however, as safety and team captain Devin McCourty explained.
?Good football players always help,” McCourty said. “And (Knighton) is a big football player, so it?s always a plus having him in there. He?s been great so fark as far as learning and being able to talk about different things. He has a pretty good understanding of what just happened in front of him. Not just, ?I do this, and this is my job on this play.? He actually knows what?s happening from an offensive standpoint. It?s always good when you have smart, good football players.”
As for Long?
?Same at T. Knighton,” McCourty continued. “Two experienced guys that are guys that come in here ready to work. Obviously, he?s very experienced, knows a ton about football as well. So we?re just trying to use their knowledge and their skills.?
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