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Saturday, August 29: Marko Mitchell Contemplates The Other Parts Of His Game

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 11:10 am

You might think, after two straight games with touchdown catches, that rookie WR Marko Mitchell would be happy. That he’d want to discuss his success, talk about putting himself in a great position to not only make the roster but to contribute this season, explain how his teammates have nicknamed him and accepted him and so on.

Not so much.
“It just felt like any other touchdown,” Mitchell said last night. “Just me going up there and doing my job.”

The possibility that the catch locked him into at least the fifth receiver spot was equally uninteresting to Mitchell. “I feel like all I can do is go out there and do my job and get better every day,” he shrugged. “I don’t think about that — ‘fifth receiver spot,’ ‘whatever receiver spot, that’s something I don’t think about.”

Mitchell was focused instead on two other elements of his performance last night, one positive and one negative. The negative one was clearly weighing on him more heavily: on the final punt of the game, Mitchell was the first man down, with an opportunity to tackle Patriots returner Patrick Chung. Mitchell’s missed tackle was a big part of what gave the Patriots the field position they needed to set up for the game winning field goal, and he knows it.

“I was running out of control,” he said, visibly disappointed, “and he stepped to the side and I just missed him.”

It’s been a pretty normal refrain about Mitchell, that he doesn’t have a lot of experience on special teams. That doesn’t actually make him feel any better, though.

“I mean, I make no excuses for anything,” Mitchell said. “I’m supposed to make that tackle. There’s no ifs, ands, buts. I don’t care if it’s my first time, second time, third time, or I’ve been playing special teams all my life. It’s just something that’s supposed to happen, and I didn’t get the job done.”

The other thing that was on his mind was more positive, and addressed another concern about his game: on Chris Cooley‘s 73-yard second-quarter catch-and-run, Mitchell threw one of the key downfield blocks. And that seemed to make him very happy indeed.

“That’s, for real,” he said, shaking his head, “I’m more satisfied with the block than I am with the touchdowns. But I wish Cooley could’ve scored; then I would’ve felt even better.”

Mitchell laughed. “I’m mad at him because he didn’t score. That’s what I felt like I did terrible last week was in my blocking game, and this whole week I was just working on it, working on it, working on it, trying to get better and better, and I just hope that I did get a lot better, including helping Cooley with that long grab.”

Being happy about that, though, didn’t mean that Mitchell would let himself be baited into suggesting thing that Cooley might have been able to do differently in order to score. “Ohhhh, no,” he said. “I can’t say that. You gotta ask Cool Breeze about that.”

Cooley had long since departed the locker room by this point, but fellow tight end Todd Yoder was still there. Yoder’s a veteran of the game and a good friend of Cooley’s, so I posed the question to him instead.

“If there’s something Cooley could’ve done differently to score?” Yoder repeated, incredulous. “Yeah, he could’ve run faster.”

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