Dimitri Patterson is finally getting his opportunity. The veteran 27-year-old cornerback who worked his way onto the roster after brief stints with the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs has grabbed hold of the starting job at right cornerback after two impressive performances - including a two interception night against the Redskins - filling in for Ellis Hobbs. But for a guy who has worked so hard to get where is, a little success won't change much.
"I just want to continue to show that I'm worthy of this opportunity and to keep showing up on film, keep trying to make an impact when the opportunity presents itself," Patterson said. "My goal is to show that I can play at a high level every Sunday and do it every Sunday. That's a task in itself, so that's my main focus.
"I want to be somebody who, when the coaches look at me on film, they know what they're going to get out of me. I don't want to be an up and down guy, a wishy-washy player. I want to be a very consistent, strong, disciplined and dominant player. That's my goal and to be able to do that, I can't just wake up out of the bed and do it. It's constant work and there's a lot that goes into that in my preparation. It's a daily, week-in, week-out, daily deal."
Patterson has talked often this season about "opportunity" and how all the talent in the world won't matter if you never get a chance. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who has been singing Patterson's praises since training camp, echoed that sentiment.
"Dimitri has always had the skillset that he has," McDermott said. "It's just been a matter of getting him on the field on a consistent basis to display his talents. He just continues to get better and better with each rep ... Now he's at a point, as we've all seen, starting really back in the preseason, where he's made plays and used his talents to be productive on the field. It's just been a process that he's gone through, an evolution, to where he's gotten to the point now where those skills that he has, that he's always possessed, are not translating to plays on the field for us."
For Patterson, getting comfortable in the Eagles' defensive scheme has taken some time. After signing with the Eagles in January of 2009, Patterson worked his way onto the 53-man roster last season as a special teams ace. During that year, he picked up some tricks of the trade from Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel and Joselio Hanson.
"It would only be smart for me to observe the guys who have been in the scheme and been successful," Patterson said. "I just tried to take everything that they were doing (well) and apply it to myself. That's what I'm trying to do with the starting position."
And Patterson's not taking anything for granted. With Hobbs returning to health from his hip injury, Patterson knows he has to keep up his level of play to stay on the field. After all, he says, "the NFL is not a league of assumptions."
So this week, Patterson, among others, will be charged with halting Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who has emerged as one of the premier receivers in the league. On the year, Nicks, 6-0, 215, has 56 catches (fourth in the league) for 735 yards (sixth) and nine touchdowns (tied for first). When asked if the Eagles could be in for a letdown coming off their dominant performance over the Redskins, Patterson dismisses the notion.
"I think we were faced with that same challenge last week before we faced the Redskins, coming off the big Colts win," he said. "I think we handled that very well and I expect us to handle this very well. We have a very young but mature team and I don't think that's going to affect our play come Sunday night. We know this is a big game."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:52 p.m., November 18