FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Third-year Patriots outside linebacker Shawn Crable has been one of the more surprising stories of the team's 2010 season.
Waived before the start of training camp when he didn't pass his physical/conditioning test, the 2008 third-round draft choice returned to the team's practice squad Sept. 6. He was promoted to the active roster Sept. 25 and has played in two games -- against Buffalo (9 snaps) and Baltimore (16 snaps).
Crable's role has been straight-forward; to serve as a pass-rusher in sub packages. In Sunday's win over the Ravens, he had a big third-down rush in overtime that led to an incompletion.
Crable has kept a low profile since his return to the team, but he opened up a bit on Wednesday.
"I have a worker attitude," he said. "I feel like every day is a new opportunity to get better, to get on the field, to play. I just have to keep getting better, keep progressing and don't get too high. I can't feel like I did anything special."
One of the interesting parts about Crable's contributions is that they come as expectations for him have been low.
In 2008 and 2009, he was considered a disappointment in never playing a regular-season game, in part because of injuries. Then, when he failed his physical/conditioning test and was waived at the start of training camp, he hit rock bottom.
Now freed from those high expectations, he seems more relaxed and almost a different player.
As for his big rush at the end of the Ravens game, Crable credited defensive line coach Pepper Johnson.
"It was more the scheme than me," he said. "Pepper told me to re-route and hit [right tackle Marshal Yanda's] outside shoulder and kind of go around him, to rip. I tried a couple of arm-and-overs, the play before I went inside, so he kept telling me to take it up the field and see what happens. I did what he told me to do and it worked out."