FOXBORO, MA – Hey, Rugby World… Did you forget your guy??? Well rest easy, at RWU we have not forgotten about New England Patriots defensive back and special teamer, Nate Ebner. Between Ebner and New York Jet Hayden Smith, it was perhaps Ebner who made the most impact on the field last season. This week, we dedicate to an update on Nate Ebner’s progress with the New England Patriots.
Nate Ebner, former Team USA Rugby Eagles U-20 star had a strong presence on special teams during his time in college at Ohio State. The presence is what earned him a spot on the Patriot’s roster last season. In Ebner’s second season on the Patriots adds a bit more pressure and responsibility. But according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Ebner is up for the job.
“Instinctively, he kind of has a nose for the ball [and understands] leverage, and how to play off blockers and read the quarterback,” Belichick said. “It’s not perfect, but he has a little bit of a knack for that. He sees other things around him and has a way of putting it together.”
Unlike last year, Ebner has a bit of a roadblock ahead of him if he wants to get on the field on defense. During the off-season the Patriots signed former Arizona Cardinal safety Adrian Wilson. The singing of Wilson to Ebner’s position will make it very hard for the rugby star to get playing time on defense this season.
“For 2013, it looks to me like Ebner would be more of a special-teams-only type of option,” said ESPNBoston writer Mike Reiss on the subject. “That doesn’t mean he couldn’t one day emerge as more of a safety, but like you mentioned, one would think playing-time options will be limited based on the additions to the position this year (namely Adrian Wilson).”
Nate Ebner has a tough road ahead of him if he wants to play defense for the New England Patriots. For now it’s just best to soak in everything he can from the 4-time All-Pro Wilson and learn the position to the best of his abilities. For now however, watch out for Ebner on special teams!
Oh, and if things don’t as we think they will, he’s always got a shot with Team USA on the pitch. Coaches Mike Tolkin and Alex Magelby certainly wouldn’t turn him away.