FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The whirlwind of his first career start behind him, you'd think Patriots rookie defensive back Sterling Moore might be able to settle in and enjoy this week's game a little bit more.
"No, I wouldn’t say so," Moore said with a laugh. "It’s usually the same thing for me every week -- preparing like I’m going to be the in game. But it’s a great opportunity for us to continue the success we had in the secondary last week, continue this week with Kansas City."
Moore, elevated from the practice squad last week, played all 72 defensive snaps at safety in Sunday's triumph over the Jets. A cornerback throughout college and the early portion of his NFL career, Moore held his own at an unfamiliar spot, maybe the only real negative coming when he got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, a curious call considering he only made contact with teammate Devin McCourty (leaving him injured in the process).
The 21-year-old admitted to playing with some early butterflies Sunday, but those went away quickly and film review only reinforced the notion that he's simply got to build off the first defensive snaps of his NFL career.
"I was pretty nervous going into the game, but once you get into the game and get the feel of it, you kinda of settle down," said Moore. "It’s the same mindset for me. Like I’ve always said, I go into every week preparing like I’m going to get on the field, so for me it’s the same. You have to be a little bit more vocal now that you’ve been out there and they expect you to know a little bit more."
The biggest challenge of playing safety?
"You have to read a lot more routes when you’re back there at safety, lot more coming at you," said Moore. "At the same time, it’s a lot more freedom, not necessarily guarding one person, you can kinda read the quarterback."
If safety Patrick Chung, held out Sunday with a right-foot injury sustained in a loss to the Giants in Week 9, is able to get back on the field this week, Moore might return to a depth role. That said, the loss of McCourty at corner could open doors for him at his more natural position.
For Moore, he's simply continuing to immerse himself in his playbook, learning the responsibilities for the safeties, outside corners, and slot corners.
"Lot of the same plays, just three different positions," said Moore. "Three different jobs -- that's the hardest part."