With Carter, a game of switching sides
FOXBOROUGH - Andre Carter’s defensive line coach at the University of California once told him he needed to embrace being a versatile player. Carter may have been comfortable on the right side, but he had to develop the technique of playing left end.
Every now and then, Carter is called on to make the switch. As the Patriots’ leading pass rusher, he knows he could be asked to change at any moment.
Last week against the Jets, Carter tied a franchise record with four sacks in a 37-16 victory, and he leads the Patriots with nine on the season.
This Monday night, instead of staring at the back of the quarterback’s jersey, Carter will have a different view. Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko is lefthanded, which eliminates the element of surprise from the right side.
“Granted, when you go up against a lefthanded quarterback, as a right defensive end you’re kind of in that gray area where you say, ‘How do I rush this guy?’ ’’ Carter said. “But at the same time, you’ve just got to play football, because if you hesitate, they win. If you’re overaggressive, they win.
“You’ve got to find that middle ground. We’ll definitely get a feel for it.’’
Carter has played on the left side on a limited basis this season. Against the Cowboys, one of his sacks came when he lined up on the left. But, he said, that doesn’t mean it is an easy transition.
“It’s just contingent on mechanics,’’ Carter said. “When you have so much repetition, it’s a constant thing. Then you go to the other side and you kind of feel a little bit off.
“I’ve been fortunate to where I’ve been accustomed to it where I did a little bit of that last year [with the Redskins].’’
Guard Brian Waters, who played 11 seasons with the Chiefs, will see them as an opponent for the first time Monday. “There’s no revenge factor here,’’ said Waters, who signed with the Patriots Sept. 4. “This is not one of those things where there’s anger or things of that matter. I have a great amount of respect for those guys, I love a lot of those guys personally, but I’m a Patriot now. I’m here to try to win football games and be a part of this football team. That’s something I’m going to take pride in.’’ . . . That touchdown spike in the third quarter Sunday night was a costly celebration for Rob Gronkowski. The tight end was fined $7,500 for spiking the ball after his 5-yard touchdown catch that gave the Patriots a 23-9 lead in the third quarter. Gronkowski also was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
The Patriots practiced on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium yesterday, but many of the players were limited by injuries. Eighteen players are listed on the injury report. Rookie linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who made his first career start against the Jets, missed practice with an illness. Linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb), cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder), and linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee) all sat out. Waters (knee), receiver Wes Welker (knee), and safety Patrick Chung (foot) were among 14 Patriots who were limited. Welker said he isn’t battling anything he can’t overcome. This is the third consecutive week he has been on the injury report, with a different ailment each time (neck, rib, and knee). “I feel all right,’’ Welker said. “I think everybody goes through different things during the season and you have to manage them and get ready the best you can.’’ . . . Except for quarterback Matt Cassel, who is out with a hand injury, the Chiefs are comparatively healthy. Cornerback Brandon Carr (ankle), defensive end Glenn Dorsey (knee), cornerback Brandon Flowers (back), and safety Jon McGraw (shoulder) were all limited in practice.