FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Derrick Martin has built a championship career out of playing on special teams.
The seven-year veteran earned Super Bowl rings the past two seasons — first with the Green Bay Packers and then with the New York Giants. Now he has a shot at a third straight title with the New England Patriots.
He offers no apologies for making his mark on special teams rather than on the higher profile offensive or defensive units.
You look for guys to step in and contribute, Martin said Wednesday of special teams. Don't be out there just because you have to, but take it as a serious job, make sure you're making the plays that you're supposed to make.
The Patriots (8-3) have made some big ones during their five-game winning streak with touchdowns on a 104-yard kickoff return by Devin McCourty, a 68-yard punt return by Julian Edelman and a 22-yard fumble return by Edelman after McCourty jarred the ball loose on a kickoff return.
Plays like that can energize the Patriots and deflate their opponents.
You feed off of it, Martin said. When you see somebody else making a play, you're like, ‘Man, it's probably my turn to make that play,' and everybody's competing to make that play, but they're all doing their job. So everybody's working well as a team.
RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks (6-5) play in one of the NFL's most remote outposts. It's partly why they are so dominant at home, going 5-0 with three victories by at least 10 or more points this season while playing before one of the rowdiest fan bases in professional football.
But on the road, the Seahawks are a woeful 1-5 this season and need to solve the problem fast if they want to consider themselves a playoff contender. Seattle goes to Chicago on Sunday for its next-to-last road game and a victory over the Bears would go a long way toward helping the Seahawks keep a grip on the final playoff spot in the NFC.
The road problems aren't new. Seattle's struggles outside the Northwest are a long-standing issue that is a mix of having to travel more than any other team in the NFL and often playing what feels like a morning start when going to the Eastern or Central time zones.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It took only practice to confirm what Jacksonville expected: Defensive end Jason Babin will help a Jaguars defense in need of a quality pass-rusher.
Babin practiced for the first time with Jacksonville Thursday afternoon, less than 48 hours after he was claimed off waivers from the Eagles.
Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen said Babin can help a ton Sunday against at Buffalo.
Third and long during the game, he will be ready, Cullen said. There's a couple of things we looked for at that position and one is the relentless motor and the other is being able to rush the passer.
He fits both of those needs.
The Eagles' decision to release the nine-year veteran was somewhat of a surprise.