Dont’a Hightower might line up anywhere for New England Patriots’ defense on … – The Huntsville Times – al.com
When New England plays the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football,” Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower will be wearing No. 54. Viewers need to know that if they want to keep up with the former Alabama standout, because he’s liable to line up anywhere in New England’s front seven on defense.
The Patriots and Chiefs wrap up Week 4 of the NFL season at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Arrowhead Stadium. ESPN will televise the game nationally.
“He’s played off the line, inside on the guard, on the tackle and played on the line on the tight ends, played down,” New England coach Bill Belichick said during his Wednesday press conference about Hightower’s roles with the Patriots defense. “Did that in college, did some sub rushing in college, played Sam. Then when (Rolando) McClain left, he moved inside and played Mike. So he’s a pretty versatile player.
“We saw him as a versatile player, and we’ve used him that. So I would say it’s not really a big surprise. I think the big thing for a player like Dont’a is his ability to play on third down – his ability to cover and rush the passer, which gives your defense a lot of flexibility. He’s a guy that you really want on the field on third down for the number of different things he can do. I wouldn’t say that’s always the case with linebackers like him – inside linebackers. But that’s what makes him a really good player. He’s good on all downs, but he gives you a lot of versatility and can also play on fourth down for us as well. We haven’t used him as much in that role because of his expanded role defensively, but he was a good fourth-down player for us his first year and …read more