FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sterling Moore, an undrafted rookie, has played only four games with the New England Patriots, and already he’s tutoring other members of the makeshift secondary.

The group has been hit so hard by injuries that even receiver Julian Edelman has filled in. But while the defensive backs keep learning, the Pats keep winning.

“We have confidence in each other out there,” Moore said Thursday. “With the new guys it’s all about having confidence, and playing confident, because when you play confident you play fast. That’s one thing that we emphasize.”

This week the Patriots signed Nate Jones, an eight-year veteran who was cut Oct. 5 by the Miami Dolphins. He could play Sunday when New England (8-3) tries to stretch its winning streak to four games against the Indianapolis Colts (0-11)

“He’ll come and ask me some questions, and hopefully I know the answer and a lot of times (I) have,” said Moore. “When a new guy comes in, it’s everybody’s job really to get him caught up because we’re all part of one team.”

Moore didn’t join that team until he was signed to the practice squad Oct. 5. Since then he was signed to the active roster, released, re-signed to the practice squad and finally added to the active roster Nov. 9.


The reshaping of the secondary began in preseason when the Patriots released veterans Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Darius Butler, Brandon McGowan and Jonathan Wilhite. Second-round draft choice Ras-I Dowling started the first two games at cornerback before going on injured reserve.

Starting safety Patrick Chung has missed the last three games because of a foot injury, and cornerback Devin McCourty, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season, has missed the last two because of a shoulder injury — suffered when he was hit by his teammate, Moore.

The Pats have allowed the most yards passing in the NFL, partly because they’ve led most games, forcing opponents to throw, but also because newcomers and backups are learning on the job.

“I feel like I’m getting there,” Moore said. “It’s one thing to see the game plan and everything on paper, but once you get out there — it’s been a couple of weeks now — so I’m starting to get a little bit more comfortable with that.”

In the past two games, Edelman has had a few plays in the secondary and has done fairly well.

“Obviously, we don’t have a lot of (players) there and he’s done a great job of trying to step in and learn what we’re doing and try to do it to a competitive level,” Coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s a smart guy and he does have a little bit of an instinctiveness and also a set of skills that are conducive to both spots.

“What you want physically from your slot receiver is pretty similar to what you want physically from your slot corner. I think the fact that he’s played in there gives him some understanding of what that position is from the other side of the ball.”


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