Myron Pryor eyes improvement in '10

FOXBOROUGH – Defensive lineman Myron Pryor was one of the Patriots’ pleasant surprises in the 2009 season. A sixth-round draft choice out of Kentucky, he played approximately 27 percent of the defensive snaps, and was credited by coaches with 23 tackles, two quarterback hits and one forced fumble.

Pryor, who has a clean bill of health at this time, was mostly utilized as an interior rusher in sub packages in 2009, a role in which he projects to be competing against veteran Damione Lewis (whose signing was officially announced this morning) and others. He also worked as a backup nose tackle on early downs.

Pryor said one of his big adjustments has been adapting to the Patriots’ two-gap style of play after being more of a one-gap player at Kentucky.

Here are snippets from an interview with Pryor at Gillette Stadium on Thursday:

What has your schedule been like since the season ended?

“I went back home for a little while, saw my family, saw my new nephew [named Unique]. It was sort of back and forth. … My legs were hurting, so it was a good time to rest them up. They were so beat up after the season. If I went straight into working out, I feel like I would have damaged myself.”

Looking back on your rookie season, what did you like and what is one area you’d like to see better?

“I’ll start with the bad. I’m still learning the system. Like when I was in college, it takes that extra year to get in it. You want to get to the point where it’s like tying your shoes as a little kid – you know what you’re doing, you have no questions. I feel like last year, I was being held back because you’re always thinking, and you don’t want to mess up because it’s your first year and you want to make the best impression. This year, I just want to go in knowing it’s written in my head. I felt like that hurt me on a lot of plays I could have made.”

And the parts of the season you felt were good?

“Learning from all the veterans. Learning from Vince [Wilfork] and my position coach [Pepper Johnson]. These are guys who have actually been there and done it at a high level. I feel like Vince and Ty [Warren] took me under their wing. I give them a lot of respect for that.”

As you look ahead, what are your goals for the year?

“My top goal is to make it on the team. Second is to be the healthiest, most-in-shape that I can be, because I want to make the best impression for the second year. My third one is focused on team chemistry. I want the team to feel like a team. I’m not saying any names, but I feel like guys didn’t always come together. Some guys, when we did come together, I thought we played helluva ball. That’s the third goal -- you saw half the guys ready, and the other half ... we need that team chemistry. It’s not just from a personal goal, but an overall team goal, because I care about my teammates.”