By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - After his first training camp practice with the Patriots, I asked Jonathan Fanene how it went.
He got this faraway look in his eyes and said slowly, "I love the people around here, the staff, the teammates, the surroundings. It feels so good. It feels important. It feels so special to be somewhere that you know something special is going to happen."
No lie. You might think I'm lying, but I'm not.
The guy looked like he was in mid-swoon.
Maybe spending a few seasons with the Bengals will do that to you. Fanene's NFL camp experience prior to here was with the Bengals out on the Ohio-Kentucky line. After eight seasons there, he signed with the Patriots early in free agency hoping to get with a consistent winner that would create a niche for his interior pass rush skills.
Bill Belichick wasn't quite ready to say Fanene was his pass-rushing salvation on Friday.
"It's been one day," said the head coach. "I don't think we want to get into how did he do on this play, how did he do on that play. We have a little while here, we have a lot of plays, a lot of days strung together. A couple hundred plays or so. There was a handful on the first day. It's a little early to get too high or too low."
Alright then. Relative to what was expected, how does Fanene look?
"He's got good playing strength. He's quick. He's definitely going to be a guy who's very competitive in that group," said Belichick. The head coach then added, "It looks like a real good group. A lot of competition in there."
No question. But the advantage Fanene has is he is a unique build (6-4, 285) and skill set among the defensive endtackle group. He's smaller than the Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, Bradon Deaderick, Kyle Love contingent. But he's also quicker.
Who will be most effective?
Hey. It's been one day. Keep your shirt on.