FOXBOROUGH -- This photo is from Shawn Crable's rookie season in 2008. The Patriots took Crable in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Michigan. Now three seasons later, Crable feels like he is in his rookie season at times.
Injuries forced the Patriots to put Crable on injured reserve in 2008 and 2009 before he could play in a single NFL game. Crable entered training camp healthy but didn't pass the team's physical and was released July 28.
In September, the Patriots brought Crable back, but on the practice squad. Two weeks later he was promoted to the 53-man roster. Crable has played in two of the last three games and he said he didn't allow himself to get frustrated when he was cut.
"I think it was a learning experience," he said. "I think it was an eye-opener, getting a lot of time to think about the type of player that I am and the things I want to do. I think getting released was an eye-opener, and I think getting brought back was an opportunity. Where we're at now, we're in work mode. We got to keep going."
Crable added that he had the motivation of his previous experiences to keep pushing forward.
"I've been there," he said. "I know what work is. I know what work is suppoed to look like and I know when I'm not doing the job I'm supposed to do. I think their decision to let me go [was] if I wasn't doing what they thought I should do. Now that I'm back, I have a better attitude, better focus, and I'm trying to get it together."
Crable said the biggest change for him in his return to the Patriots is in his approach. He said he is asking questions of defensive line coach Pepper Johnson about pass rushing or linebackers coach Matt Patricia about technique.
"I talk to everybody, all my coaches," Crable said. "I watch a lot of film and practice film, game film ... all things that I didn't do before. I try to see where I'm at and try to coach myself up sometimes because as a player you can see yourself doing things that you don't really think you should be doing. I got real heavy on the film and asking questions."