Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower called in to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the defense and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Hightower recently got some extra defensive help, as the Patriots traded for former LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Browns. Mingo, listed at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, might not look like an average linebacker, but Hightower said that the former Brown ‘has a great skill set’ that can help the defense in many ways.
A University of Alabama product himself, Hightower said he had heard of Mingo during his college days. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers may be rivals, but Hightower says there is no beef to squash with him and Mingo.
“I think it’s more of a mutual respect,” Hightower said. “Back in college, both defenses had a lot of highly recruited guys. … We both know each other or whatever, but most of that stuff is passed and [we’re] just trying to get him caught up and speed things up so he can get on the field and help us out.”
With 10 defensive starters returning this season, and plenty of new faces expected to make an impact, this Patriots defense has the chance to do something special. Hightower acknowledged that feeling during his interview.
“Everybody has definitely been more hands-on about it,” Hightower said. “Definitely feel like we’re making a lot of great strides in the right direction. We definitely feel like we’ve got something special, and we try to take advantage of that every day, whether it’s in the meeting rooms or on the field.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com.patriots.
On the team’s performance in last Friday’s 19-17 preseason win over the Panthers: “We knew what kind of team that Carolina has, I think we went down there and played a good game. Like you said, first time on the road … It was just a great test for all of us to go down there and play the way that we played. We may not have finished the way we wanted to, but definitely all the way around, we all competed.”
On having his locker moved to the former spot of Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and Jerod Mayo: “I didn’t really know the history of it until a couple of weeks ago. I was kind of upset my locker did move that I’ve been in for going on five years, and then they just move my stuff without asking. But it’s definitely a great honor knowing all those guys and what they represent and what they mean, what they meant to the team. I’ll definitely try to fit both those honors as well as I can.”
On if he will play in the Patriots’ final preseason game agaianst the Giants on Thursday: “No clue, man. The best way to go about it is prepare like any other game, so I’ll be ready to go.”