Interview With Patrick Chung
This weekend, New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding his career, this year's Super Bowl run, Bill Belichick and more. Although all anybody wants to talk about lately is air pressure in a football, our discussion stuck strictly to the game of football, and maybe a little FIFA too... Have a read:
Matt: You get picked in the second round of the draft, live up to the expectations but then some setbacks occur through injury. You’re finally healthy, of course 2011 happens, then in March of 2013 you’re signed by the Eagles… After that season ended could you ever have imagined being back with your old team, old coach, in some cases old teammates, and not only that, but to play an integral part in a title run?
Pat: No I didn’t. After Philly let me go I was just waiting. A couple teams reached out to me and were interested in a one-year deal, but nothing fell through. I just went out to Arizona and got myself into even better shape, and one day the phone rang. I had a long conversation with Bill (Belichick); a long and positive conversation. I didn’t really expect it, but it was nice because I never wanted to leave New England.
Matt: The Patriots' secondary was one of the best in the NFL last season. With Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and even Devin McCourty stealing all of the attention did you ever feel unappreciated?
Pat: No, I could care less. I never worry about what people say. I just want to go out there every day and do my job. If anything it helped me, being the underdog, it motivated me to work ever harder.
Matt: Quickly let's go back to your time in Philadelphia. Briefly describe some of the differences between playing under Bill Belichick and playing under Chip Kelly:
Pat: Both want to win, so they're similar in that sense. There isn't really a huge difference between the two of them; they want to get the best out of you and they’re both going to work you hard. Bill has been doing it for a long time and been doing it well, but so has Chip. He has double digit wins in two years...
Matt: Obviously you were wanted back by Belichick, and clearly he’s meant a lot to you. Describe what makes him such a great coach:
Pat: He makes people better, and he doesn’t care where you came from or what you did before. You come here (to New England) and you work hard; if not, you get exposed and you wind up sitting on the bench. Bill leaves it up to you, but he also makes sure you’re working.
Matt: Once this hectic yet Patriotesque offseason ends, the attention will likely be refocused on the absence of Darrelle Revis, and also Brandon Browner in the defensive backfield. How does losing them impact you?
Pat: I mean, I cant worry about that stuff. You have to play with the guys you have and win with the guys you have. Whoever is there with us is there. People are going to step up, often times it's guys from the practice squad. The practice squad helps us win more games than people understand. When we get out there and we go to battle with them things can get intense, and sometimes they kick our asses and Bill loves it.
Matt: Even with all that’s gone on off the field over the last three months, this team seems to be incredibly good at “ignoring the noise” as Belichick would put it. What makes the guys in that locker room so good at tuning everyone out and just focusing on football?
Pat: Bill gives us a reminder: “the sign on the door says ignore the hype.” You learn to adapt to the nature Bill wants, you just play football. Everybody else does it consistently, so you’re gonna have to do it. He just gives you friendly reminders, and when we’re high he brings us down and when we're low he brings us back up. Do your job, stay out of trouble and go home.
Matt: Who’s the best wide receiver or tight end you’ve had to cover?
Pat: Rob Gronkowski. I covered him in the preseason last year. He's the best tight end in the game; he's the best.
Matt: Who’s the best quarterback in the game today?
Pat: Besides Tom, Aaron Rodgers. He's fast, he has a quick release, and he can just flat out make plays. He's a beast.
Matt: Who do you enjoy watching the most?
Pat: Marshawn (Lynch). It’s just fun watching him play. There’s a reason they call him Beast Mode.
Matt: What’s the best part about playing in New England?
Pat: The fans. They know when to cheer and when not to cheer. There are some real educated fans in New England.
Matt: Last question, are you too scared or will you let me embarrass you in FIFA this summer?
Pat: Yeah I’m down with that. Just let me know and I'll whoop that ass.