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NFL Europe Diary Week 5: Raymond Ventrone

After suffering their third straight tough loss in a row to drop to 1-3, Raymond Ventrone and the Cologne Centurions have an engagement with the Berlin Thunder this Monday. Bubba explains in this week's NFL Europe diary what his team needs to do in order to stop their losing streak.

Things are going well. We had another tough loss this week, 21-14. We've just been unfortunate so far with things not going our way and being penalized too much. I mean it's tough to win games when you have over 100 yards in penalties.

Frustration is starting to mount a little bit. I think if we become more disciplined and watch the penalties we'll put ourselves in a much better position to win football games. It was really frustrating to lose that game because I thought we were going to win the whole time but it didn't turn out the way I was hoping for. We just need to continue to pull together and hopefully we can turn things around.

I thought I played pretty well. I played a lot down in the box. When we run our cover three, the safety comes down in the box and one of the linebackers plays outside. I played okay. I'm always trying to improve and I think I've been doing that week to week.

I feel like I'm pretty good no matter where I'm playing. The way we run our defense is different here. When I'm down in the box in this system, it's different from how we do it in New England. Here, I'm more like a linebacker and that's been different for me because I'm taking on linemen and stuff. I'm comfortable playing in the box but I'm also comfortable playing back deep in coverage. I'm improving with my techniques and things like that and I'm reading the quarterback a lot better.

I feel that I'm definitely a better player now than when I first arrived here. I think I've really been improving in all areas. I'm doing better with my special teams assignments. I feel like I've been doing a solid job in kick coverage. I haven't had any busts or anything like that. I've been getting into my lane and everything but I need to make some more tackles. I feel like on special teams, that's an opportunity to make a big play. I want to try to make a big play in the next couple of weeks, not just do my assignment. I love playing special teams. It's a way to make an impact and help out both your offense and defense with field position.

I don't think we're giving up on our offense. They've proven they can move the ball against anyone but we just haven't been able to put a lot of points on the board for some reason. I don't think we've scored more than 14 points and it's hard to win when you don't score more than two touchdowns. But I'm a defensive player and I feel from our end, the defense shouldn't be given up 14 points. We've been giving up too many big plays. Big plays have been killing us. Big plays, penalties and turnovers. Those three things are the reason why we're struggling right now.

I really don't know why we are giving up big plays. There are good offensive players over here too and sometimes things just happen, even when you're well prepared. I feel like we're in a rough spot right now and we just need to work our way out of it.

I haven't talked to any of the Patriots coaches yet. I tried to e-mail Coach Seely last week but our Internet has been down at the hotel for like the past two weeks. I can't even get online right now. The Internet works on every floor in the hotel except ours so I don't know if they blackballed us or what.

My girlfriend is flying in Friday to see me and she's going to spend the week. It's been hard being away from each other. We talk on the phone and things like that but she knows that I have to do this. It's been tough but we're getting through it.

We play at Berlin this week. This is the only team we haven't played yet and then we start the schedule over again. They have a pretty balanced offense. I think this league is more of a passing league but they're pretty balanced. They have some pretty good players and one of their receivers, Rich Musinski, is allocated by us (Patriots). I played against him in college when he was at William & Mary. Their quarterback is Lang Campbell and he played for William & Mary too when I was at Villanova, so I'm familiar with both of those guys.

The game is actually on Monday this week at 10:00 am on The NFL Network. The game will be broadcast live, not tape delay, so be sure to check it out or DVR it if you don't want to get up that early.

As told by Raymond "Bubba" Ventrone to Patriots Football Weekly's Tom Casale

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