Greg Knopping is the managing editor of SB Nation's New England Patriots blog and SB Nation Boston affiliate blog Pats Pulpit. Greg is on assignment in Indianapolis to cover the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. On Wednesday, Greg sat down with Pats middle linebacker Dane Fletcher to talk about his 2011 season and the big game on Sunday.
On the up-and-down season ending in a Super Bowl XLVI appearance:
You know, it's been ups and downs, peaks and valleys this year, for sure. My thumb injury - broke it a couple of times - and now I'm here at the Super Bowl and I'm trying to play at the top of my level. So it's a great experience.
Thoughts on Fletcher's new "wrinkle" defensively, lining up at defensive tackle on third downs in sub-packages:
It's cool, man. Any way they want to utilize me on defense, I'll take it. I played a little d-line in college and linebacker here so they're trying to use me as a hybrid guy.
Whether he feels more comfortable in the 3-4 base or the 4-3 base:
Either one - I like playing linebacker a little bit more than d-line, generally I feel more comfortable there. I like dropping back but I also like hitting blitzes, I like getting in there and making plays either way.
What Brandon Spikes' return has meant to the Patriots defense and how he feels he compliments Spikes and Jerod Mayo:
Spikes brings a lot to our defense and he comes in and he's a hard hitter and I just bring a little versatility I feel like - whatever they ask me to do I'll do.