Foxboro Mass -
Dont'a Hightower knows the Time is Now To Play Better
Dont'a Hightower said Thursday the most important way for the defense to improve is for all 11 players to be on the same page. Hightower spent time talking with the other front seven players like Lawrence Guy and Keionta Davis yesterday in the locker room to discuss presumably terminology and how to recognize formations quicker so the defense can adjust. He also knows that the defense must play with more energy. Hightower noted that the team needs to play better on first and second down, which will help the third down defense because offenses would not be in such third and manageable situations.
"It's starts in the meeting room - how we absorb information and execute at practice," Hightower said.
Hightower said it is important for defensive players to review their assignments even if they think they have strong knowledge of the playbook. Hightower expressed his realization that there is a sense of urgency to fix the defense before it is too late.
"There is a lot of football left to go, but we got to turn it around now and attack it (the problems) head on. We can't wait until October," Hightower said.
Bottom line Hightower can be a leader by playing better. He has looked slow the past few games. Former Pats personnel man Michael Lombardi suggested Hightower move to defensive end.
"I will do whatever the coaches ask me," Hightower said.
LB John Simon Speaks
LB John Simon spoke to the press for the first time Thursday. The Pats signed Simon Wednesday after the Indianapolis Colts released him at the end of training camp. Simon noted it will be a challenge to learn the Pats complicated playbook.
"I am trying to be a pro to study the playbook so I don't let the team down," Simon said. "It's tough to watch other players during the game. It sucks to sit on the coach and not play but I have confidence that I could play.
Simon recognized the reality of playing in the NFL.
"It's a business. All I can do is try to be the best I can be," Simon said.
Secondary Must Play Well Sunday Against the Dolphins Wide Receiving Core
Devin McCourty has great respect for the Dolphins wide receiving core - particularly the speed of Dolphins WR Kenny Stills.
"I think the biggest thing is always having an awareness for where he is. Obviously if we're in zone or man, if a guy's on him, but I think we still want to know where he is. And they've got a couple guys like that. When [Jakeem] Grant's in the game, when [Albert] Wilson's in the game, you want to know where those guys are because those three guys have had – already in three games – have all had 70-yard touchdowns and big plays. We know we need to be aware of wherever they're at so it's not just one guy that has to make the play, that we can try to get a lot of guys around them and not allow them to really crush us with one big play," McCourty said.
McCourty added that he does not think Pats players will have a lot time to interact with former teammate Danny Amendola like they did with Nate Solder when the Pats played the New York Giants in preseason.
"I think what was cool with Nate was in the preseason we got to see him – I think it was a couple hours still before kick-off. I don't think it will quite be like that Sunday but it'll be good to see him. You know, obviously see him still productive, playing well but you know, we hope none of that comes Sunday. But obviously shared great memories with him, one of the toughest guys I've ever been around in this league, definitely pound-for-pound. We know what he's going to bring Sunday. He's going to be competitive, he's going to be blocking, running – so we know how 'Dola [Danny Amendola] is," McCourty said.
Eric Rowe missed practice Thursday.