Wright set to contribute again
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The regular season couldn’t come soon enough for Patriots defensive lineman Mike Wright.
Last year, Wright was in the midst of a career-best campaign, leading the Patriots with 5 1/2 sacks and proving to be a productive member of the line before he suffered a concussion against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 21.
That was the last time Wright was on the field for a regular-season game. He missed the final six games and the postseason while on injured reserve.
Wright dealt with an undisclosed injury this preseason, but he’s grateful to finally be ready to contribute again.
“I’m just excited to be back on the field regardless of what they ask me to do,’’ Wright said. “To be back on the field with the guys and trying to get back into a rhythm is really big for a player.’’
Wright returned to practice at the end of training camp and made his preseason debut against the Giants Sept. 1. Missing so much time might not have been a big deal had the Patriots not transitioned from the 3-4 to 4-3.
Wright said he played some 4-3 at the University of Cincinnati, so he doesn’t expect to be tripped up. He’s had plenty of time to study the playbook.
“It’s still football at the end of the day,’’ Wright said.
Wright was able to test out some of the looks against the Giants, finishing with two tackles.
But he said the Patriots faced some challenges in preparing for last night’s season opener against Miami. The Dolphins added running back Reggie Bush and have a new offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll, who led the Browns offense the last two season and was a Patriots assistant from 2000-06.
“Preseason is different than what they are going to show in the opener,’’ Wright said. “You have to be ready for everything. They’re going to try and throw us off track.’’
Wright, entering his seventh NFL season, is optimistic that he will be able to contribute even more this season.
He has been a versatile player since being signed by the Patriots as an undrafted rookie in 2005, playing end and tackle. He had appeared in 48 consecutive regular-season games before the concussion and picked up five sacks in 2009.
Wright said he is eager to see how everything will come together for the Patriots this season.
“If we’re ready as a whole and everyone does their technique correct, we’ll be all right,’’ Wright said.
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.