New England's newest Patriots – DE Jabaal Sheard and TE Scott Chandler – spoke exclusively with patriots.com upon arriving in Foxborough this month. Today, the duo entertained questions from the local media at large.
Both players offered similar answers when asked what led to their decisions to sign with the Super Bowl champs.
"Coming in and hearing from the coaches about all the great things going on… you know, coming from a not-so-good program," said Sheard, a former Cleveland Brown, "to a great program that's been winning and doing well, I'm just excited. I want to win in the league and be part of a great organization.
"I visited there coming out in my rookie year, and I thought I was going to be drafted there. I got a second shot at it."
Sheard also cited the consistency of the organization, particularly the coaching, as a factor in his choice, as well as the presence of Mike Lombardi, an assistant to the Patriots coaching staff who was Cleveland's GM during Sheard's time in Cleveland.
Chandler, the former Buffalo Bill, said of his decision, "It comes down to the organization that [owner Robert] Kraft has set up here. It's been a top-flight organization since I've been playing, for sure, and longer than that. That was a big factor."
The 29-year-old Chandler insisted his success versus the Patriots over the years is purely a coincidence, and that he will have no trouble facing his old club twice a year. As for what his role will be with the Patriots, he wouldn't elaborate, saying he would do whatever's asked of him. However, given his size and style of play, it's safe to assume he'll be a complement to Rob Gronkowski.
"I've talked to Rob on the field after games, and that's about it," said Chandler. "I'm sure we'll get to know each other and get along well. He seems like a fun guy to be around. Obviously, a great player. I'm looking forward to watching him do his thing. He's fun to watch."
Sheard, meanwhile, assumes he'll be in a rotation at defensive end with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, as well as playing some outside linebacker. And like Scott Chandler, Sheard insists he'll do whatever the coaches ask him to do on the field.
"I'm up for the challenge, whatever it is. I think I can play anywhere up front. My main strength is knocking guys back and creating penetration at the line of scrimmage, getting after the quarterback."
However, after a promising rookie campaign, Sheard's production has taken a tumble. He made no excuses for that decline, but maintains he's ready for a new chapter in Foxborough.
"My career has been shaky, it's been up and down," he admitted. "It was just me not executing, not sticking to the game plan. I'm more focused and hungry than I've ever been. I just have to learn how to finish. Hopefully, getting with the new coaches over here, I'll be able to work on that and get that accomplished."