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Ninkovich shifts from OLB to DE for Patriots


FOXBOROUGH (AP) - When he was an outside linebacker, Rob Ninkovich could spend more time covering receivers. He even intercepted two passes in two different games.

He'd rather get sacks, and he has a better chance now that the New England Patriots have shifted him to his college position of defensive end.

Playing on the line reduces Ninkovich's pass coverage responsibilities. He can focus more on trying to tackle the quarterback, a team weakness last season. His next chance comes Monday night at home when the Patriots (No. 2 in the AP Pro32) face Philadelphia in an exhibition game.

Coach Bill Belichick is downplaying the position change. He says Ninkovich always has played at the end of the line of scrimmage and will continue doing that.