Patriots

Smith will do 'whatever it takes' to contribute

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Smith will do 'whatever it takes' to contribute

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Continuing with their 2011 draft trend of selected guys whoare willing to do whatever it takes in order to contribute to an NFL team,the Patriots took tight end Lee Smith in the fifth round (159th overall) onSaturday.

Smith played four years at Marshall as a tight end, but saidhis nastiness on the field sometimes makes him an extra offensive lineman onthe football field.

He got that nastiness from his father, who used to tell himthat there are no friends inside the white lines.

I think its good to have a little nastiness in you, to bean extra offensive lineman on the field, at the tight end position, said Smithin Saturdays conference call.

Smith said he would be open to playing offensive line, if itmeant being part of Sundays game plan.

Whatever I need to do to compete, and contribute in theNFL, Ill do, said Smith. My goal is to contribute on Sundays. I dont wantto be a guy that doesnt contribute.

Im not saying that I have to be a starter, or I have to bethis, or I have to be that. I just want to make sure I contribute in the NFL,and I get to play ball. And if thats at tackle, tight end, special teams,whatever it is, thats what my dream has been my whole life.

His dream coming out of high school was to play football atthe University of Tennessee, where he initially had enrolled. But Smith quicklytransferred to Marshall -- where he played four seasons after being chargedwith a DUI at Tennessee.

There was a bump in the road, and it ended up being thebest thing that ever happened to me, said Smith, who was named team captainhis last two years at Marshall.

Now, hell join an impressive group of tight ends in NewEngland.

It fires me up, to see two, and three, and four tight endsets on the field, said Smith. I think thats something thats very specialwhen a team can do that. It definitely makes mismatches. You get a Hernandez,Gronkowski, and Crumpler, theyre all very different players. But at the sametime, when all three of them are on the field, its a nightmare for a defensivecoordinator, for any team in the NFL.

Im humbled to be put in a group with those three guys, andIm excited to kind of pick their brains, and hopefully get a little knowledgefrom each on of them.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

None of us thought Johnson Bademosi would be starting this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets because -- well -- that’s not what we perceive the 27-year-old to be. He’s a special teamer. It’s how he’s made his mark in the NFL dating back to 2012 with Cleveland. So why would that change in mid-October for a team he’s only been with for six weeks? Because Bademosi is -- and has always been -- intent on proving he’s more than a niche player.

“I see myself as a football player,” he said, “and whatever position they put me in, I’m going to try to be the best because that’s how I operate and who I am as a person. Whether that’s as a cornerback, on special teams, if they ask me to play wildcat quarterback. Whatever…”

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Bill Belichick and his staff asked for Bademosi to go on the field and not come off. He played 73 defensive snaps in addition to his usual core four special teams duties. 

“I felt like I played a whole game,” Bademosi joked, before saying, “I love playing football so I’m going to go out there and empty myself.”

He did just that, getting targeted only two times in the 24-17 win over the Jets. It was hoped that Bademosi would return to his normal specialist role, but with Stephon Gilmore still out with a concussion, it now seems more and more likely that the sixth year pro will have to be an ironman again Sunday night in primetime against the Falcons. Historically, the Pats have defended bigger receivers. That means Bademosi may be responsible for one of the most dangerous players in the league, Julio Jones.

“He’s an amazing player," he said. “We all know what he’s capable of. As a defense, we have to be prepared for him.”

The Pats were on Super Bowl Sunday and Jones still made a couple of ridiculous plays with either Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe in coverage with safety help over the top.

“He’s fast. He’s physical. He can jump. He can run. He’s smart. He’s everything you want in a wide receiver,” said Bademosi without blinking an eye. That’s the kind of confidence you want from a player at that position and facing this type of challenge. 

“You gotta believe in yourself,” he said “ I’m confident in my abilities. I work hard and trust my preparation.”

Being an elite athlete certainly helps. Bademosi was a scholarship football player at Stanford -- “some guy named Jim Harbaugh called” -- before ending up in the NFL. But it’s Bademosi’s willingness to go all in in the film room that impressed safety Devin McCourty. 

“…I think, honestly, the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see,” said McCourty Thursday. “You know, when you’re a backup more, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But, I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘Alright, let me focus in on this.’ I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing.”

Bademosi will have to compete his ass off Sunday night, even against what has been to this point a physically compromised Jones. Based on what he did several days ago, there’s no reason to believe the Pats cornerback won’t bring everything he has, trying to prove again that he’s more than just a special teams whiz.

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