FOXBORO, Mass. — If you were listening to CBS Sports color analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on Sunday’s New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills broadcast, then you’re well aware of Eric Lee.
Romo jokingly (we think) dubbed Lee, a Patriots first-year defensive end, “The Most Productive Player in the NFL” on Sunday after he collected eight tackles, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups and an interception in his first two career NFL games, the second of which came against the Bills, his former team.
Lee has been busy still attempting to acclimate to the Patriots, so he’s missed much of the pub he’s received in his first two games. But he has a plan of attack to continue his surprising success.
“I’m going to do what I’ve been doing since I’ve gotten here,” Lee said. “Obviously there’s a role that they’ve carved out for me, but that can expand as long as I keep doing this role effectively, especially on game day. So, making sure the off-the-field stuff, like preparing-wise, like watching film and just mentally going over it, talking with coaches, meetings, everything like that, I have to make sure I continue to do that as well as practice — execute as if it was a game. Same mentality, I just put myself in the game in practice. And then once the game comes, it kind of slows down, and those plays will start coming and due to my preparation, I should execute, make a play.”
Lee has been with the Patriots for just over two weeks, so he’s still living out of a suitcase in a hotel. That can be beneficial for some players since their only focus is on learning.
“Obviously there’s some obligations I have off the field, but living out of a hotel, I’d rather not stay in a hotel all day,” Lee said. “So, it creates an antsy-ness to get back into the building and help myself for the next day.”
The Patriots will need Lee on Monday night against the Miami Dolphins with pass rushers Kyle Van Noy and Deatrich Wise missing practice with injuries Thursday. Trey Flowers, the Patriots’ starting right defensive end, missed Week 13 with a rib injury and was limited Thursday in practice.
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images