Cornerback is not a place for brooding introspection.
Dimitri Patterson can count. He knows he gave up three touchdowns in the first half of last Sunday's Eagles-Giants game, a spectacularly, memorably, wretched performance.
Patterson also knows he has to line up again this week against the Vikings, and he can't do that with trepidation.
"I play a position of exposure, in a scheme where the magnifier is on you," Patterson said yesterday. "I play in a predominately man-to-man coverage scheme . . . If you're not mentally tough, you won't last one series in this defense, it's as simple as that. You're going to have some good plays, you're going to have some bad plays, but the bottom line is, you're going to have to continue playing throughout. It's a four-quarter game, and when the clock ticks zero, where are you?
"I play opposite Asante [Samuel], so naturally, I'm going to get the majority of the work, and I embrace that. I thank my coaching staff for keeping me in those same situations. We came out in the second half and stayed with man-to-man, there wasn't any help over the top, and I came out in the second half and showed [I could do the job]."
Patterson figures the Giants saw him jump a route and intercept a pass at a key moment the week before at Dallas, his fourth pick of the season.
"What I put on film, teams are going to scout that," he said. "What I put on film up to that point was that I was an aggressive player who likes to run in on the ball. How do you counteract an aggressive player? Well, you double-move him. You try to loosen him up, so he won't be so aggressive.
"From here on out, if teams feel like they want to come at me like that, so be it. That wasn't the first double-move I've gotten all year, and it won't be the last. But I know one thing - what they've seen on film up to this point, they've seen an aggressive, confident player every single Sunday . . . even in the last game, anybody who knows football and watched that game, if they watched, from the first play to the last play, I kept coming all game. If the offensive coordinator wants to focus on three plays out of a thousand, so be it. At the end of the day, I'm not going to change who I am. I'm going to continue to stay aggressive, I'm going to continue to attack the ball, I'm going to continue to show up in run support. Nothing's going to change about my demeanor or how I approach the game. So I'm ready."
Patterson shook off his coverage problems to throw a key block on the game-winning punt return by DeSean Jackson.
Defensive tackle Jeff Owens was told he was coming up from the practice squad more than 2 months ago, after Brodrick Bunkley suffered an elbow injury against the 49ers. But the next day, it turned out Bunkley didn't need surgery, could play with the elbow braced, so Owens did not join the roster. This week, he finally did, when Nate Allen (patellar tendon surgery) went on IR and tight end Garrett Mills was released.
The Eagles had heard the Bucs were looking into signing Owens off the practice squad, a common practice this time of year for teams who see practice-squad players they would like to acquire for next season.
"I'm glad I finally made it," said Owens, a seventh-round pick last spring from Georgia. Owens is one of 14 rookies or first-year players on the current roster with three more on IR (Allen, Brandon Graham and Ricky Sapp).
"You just gotta go hard," Owens said, when asked if he ever felt forgotten on the practice squad. "I know I was bustin' my butt on the scout team."