Klecko is actively pursuing a spot
Rookie waiting to get call for his first game action
FOXBOROUGH -- He will likely not know until a coach taps him on the shoulder on game day and tells him, "Kid, you're in there," but until that moment, Dan Klecko keeps trying to impress the coaches in practice for a chance to play his first NFL game.
Being on the 45-man active roster Sunday vs. the Jets would be significant for Klecko because his father, Joe, was a star defensive lineman with the Jets from 1977-87.
With Patriots players dropping fast on defense (Rosevelt Colvin and Ted Johnson both out), Klecko's chances of playing soon are increasing. For the last two games Klecko has not made the trip to either Buffalo or his former collegiate town, Philadelphia, where he attended Temple University.
He said he wasn't too disappointed about not going to Philadelphia because "I've seen it before. I've been there enough." He said he's been staying here "moving in" to a new home.
While the Patriots were using Klecko as a lineman and a linebacker in the exhibition season, most of his practice work has come on the defensive line. He's been used mostly on scout teams to give the offense a look similar to the Jets.
"I'm pretty much playing D-line in nickel packages," Klecko said. "I can't wait to get out there, but at the same time I'm not upset. I'm just excited for when the chance comes and I'm going to stay ready. The coach has told me stay ready, stay focused, your time will come. I can't complain. I'm in a situation a million of my friends would love to be in. I've talked to my former teammates in college and there's no way I'd complain about this situation."
The Patriots have settled into a routine with their defensive line, rotating Bobby Hamilton, Ted Washington, Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, and Jarvis Green, and either Anthony Pleasant or Rick Lyle. Pleasant and Lyle have each been inactive for a game. With the linebacking corps thin, there might be more 4-3 looks. Clearly, however, Klecko has not been able to break into the rotation quite yet.
Movement on line?
With Mike Compton's foot hurting and still listed as questionable for the Jets, the Patriots may take advantage of the option to use Dan Koppen at center and Damien Woody at guard. Koppen started at center last week vs. the Eagles. Je'Rod Cherry (leg), David Givens (leg), Fred McCrary (knee), and Asante Samuel (shoulder) all remained questionable as well . . . Jets linebacker Jason Glenn was downgraded from probable to questionable . . . Asked whether he was concerned about Antowain Smith's lack of production, Belichick responded, "I think that offensively, we are still looking to improve our overall production in all areas of the game and that includes the running game. It includes the running backs, it includes the line, the receivers, the passing game, the whole works. We obviously didn't have too much production in the first week. It was better last week, but some of that was the result of favorable field position and turnovers. I think we could still be more efficient moving the ball offensively." . . . Belichick said it's important that the offense stay balanced to keep the defense honest. "I don't know what the league average is, but it is probably between 55 and 60 percent passing, somewhere in that neighborhood. I don't think hardly any team is 50/50 but there may be a couple, but there aren't many. It is good to be balanced but if something is not working, to me, there is no sense in banging your head against the wall and trying to force something in there when something else is going better.". . . Many Patriots personnel attended funeral services for former Patriots great Ron Burton yesterday. Belichick attended Burton's wake on Wednesday.
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