Nice nugget on one of my favorite rookies.
Justin Francis — The rookie free agent defensive lineman out of Rutgers has looked more and more comfortable using his speed, and Bill Belichick has rewarded him with many more snaps in big situations, always a good sign for a player as the team heads into the playoffs. He had four tackles Sunday night. He was in for 22 of 68 snaps. “He’s definitely improved, absolutely,” Belichick said. “I think he’s definitely improved. Last year, he played three-technique at Rutgers, so although he’s played some inside, that’s not really his main thing this year. Our defense is a lot different than what they did there schematically. He’s a competitive player, he works hard. He’s got some good ability and like any young player he’s learning through sometimes trial and error. Sometimes experience, sometimes the hard way. But he works hard to get better and I have a lot of respect for that. There aren’t many people that work harder than he does. He competes every day in practice, both in the classroom and out on the field to learn and improve, and he’s definitely improved a lot, no question.”
Sounds like rookie DE Justin Francis, who was carted off, might have dodged a serious injury. Was cramping in practice, source says.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 28, 2012