Malcom Brown steps into leadership role among Patriots DTs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Three leftovers of notes from interviews after the New England Patriots' organized team activity last week.

Terrance Knighton on the defensive tackle group: “Obviously [Alan] Branch is not here right now. When we get him back, we’ll have another leader. Malcom Brown has basically been leading the group. Being his second year, he’s probably the most experienced guy in there right now in terms of this team. I’m picking his brain to see how things are done around here. Me being the older guy in the group, I try to share some knowledge on things I know and things I’ve learned over the past. We have a good group. We have a hard-working group, a lot of young guys.”

Chris Long on his fast-forming bond with Rob Ninkovich: “Rob and I really clicked. I think we have a lot of similarities. He’s a great guy to learn from and shadow. He’s been here obviously a long time. Rob knows how to do things the right way around here. You see a guy like that and if you’re halfway smart, you follow him around and try to do what he does. So if Rob goes to lunch, I go to lunch.”

Devin McCourty on Knighton joining the Patriots: “Good football players always help. He’s a big football player. It’s always a plus having him in there. He’s been great so far as far as learning and being able to talk about different things. He has a pretty good understanding of what is happening in front of him. Not just ‘I do this’ and that’s my job on this play. But he actually knows what’s happening from an offensive standpoint. So it’s always good when you have smart, good football players.”