All this week we’re featuring video from Wednesday’s OTA (organized team activity) at Gillette Stadium. Today’s video: CB Terrence Wheatley.
When meeting with reporters following the final practice of the Patriots’ first voluntary OTA of the offseason Wednesday, outside linebacker Shawn Crable and quarterback Kevin O’Connell were asked about a perceived vote of confidence from management due to the fact that New England had yet to beef up those positions via offseason acquisitions.
But what does it mean when you’re a second-year cornerback and the Patriots not only bring in two experienced veterans (Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden), but also use two of their top 41 picks in this year’s draft to tab defensive backs?
If you’re Terrence Wheatley, it’s a chance to prove you belong on the field.
“Competition makes everybody better,” said Wheatley. “If you can play, you’ll be out there playing. So you just go out there and take care of your job, your own business, and the rest takes care of itself.”
Wheatley, a Patriots second-round choice in 2008 (62d overall), competed for playing time as a rookie, only to break his left wrist against Indianapolis and spent the final half of the season on injured reserve.
The departures of Ellis Hobbs and Deltha O’Neal means the Patriots’ depth chart is wide open in 2009 (second-year corner Jonathan Wilhite did start the final three games of the season opposite Hobbs). Neither Springs, Bodden, or Wilhite were on the field Wednesday, so Wheatley got a jump before what should be one of the more intriguing battles during training camp.
Asked if he felt old at a camp geared toward rookies and new acquisitions, Wheatley joked his “body feels old, but I’m still young at heart.” With a year of experience under his belt, he made it a point to help out rookie cornerback Darius Butler, a Patriots’ second-round choice (41st overall) in this year’s draft.
“As a rookie, your head is spinning from Day 1,” said Wheatley. “You go out there and hear all these different terms. When I came in, I was writing stuff down in my own terminology, then I would go home and hope to stay awake long enough to re-write everything in what [the Patriots] called it.
“I’ve talked to [Butler] every day about some of the stuff they expect, some of the terminology, and some of the stuff [rookies] have to learn. I told him, ‘Hey man, just write it down how you know it, then go home and study it in the way we call it.”
To hear more from Wheatley, check out the video at the top of this entry. You can read more on Wheatley (and Crable) in this recent Globe story.
Previous OTA video