As the cut down to the 53-man roster looms across the league, there are certain qualities and abilities that can make a player more attractive to teams. Versatility, toughness, and coachability are all important factors. Another way to prove one's value, especially when competing for a primarily backup role, is to contribute on special teams.
Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who seems to be competing with Trae Williams and Jack Ikegwuonu for the fifth cornerback spot, has shown to be a quality contributor as a special teamer throughout this preseason. Patterson has been running with the No. 1 special teams unit in all four phases - kickoff, kickoff return, punt, and punt return.
"Most organizations consider that as 'core guys,'" Patterson said of players who participate in all four phases. "Right now, we're trying to find out which group of guys works best together. With special teams, we all know that's effort more than anything. We're trying to find the right 11 who, as a collective group, can really get after people. I think we're moving in the right direction."
Patterson then described his specific responsibilities.
"On punt, I'm a gunner," he said, "Most likely, if you're any good out there, you're going to get double-teamed. So that can be tough at times.
"On punt return, I'm a holdup guy for the most part. And on kickoff return, I'm on the front line, which can be difficult at times because I find myself in a lot of situations when I'm blocking linebackers. So not only do you have to be tough, but you have to be smart."
A fourth-year player who spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patterson knows that a lot of his value is based on his play for Ted Daisher's special teams. But, like any player, he wants to be on the field as much as possible.
"Whatever opportunity presents, I try to get in there and show that I can be trusted," he said. "Ideally, everybody wants to be a starter. But you can only show what you can show when you're in.
"My mindset has always been, from the moment that I've stepped into this league, that not only do I want to show the organization that I'm a starter, but other teams also. So that's been my mindset, and hopefully I've been doing a good job."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:01 p.m., August 30