Patriots CB Cre’von LeBlanc hopes to make more plays
FOXBORO — It must be tough for Cre’von LeBlanc to not go back and watch the play over and over when he’s reviewing film from Thursday’s preseason game with the New Orleans Saints.
The play, of course, came when the Patriots’ undrafted rookie free agent cornerback made a twisting, one-handed interception in the end zone while providing perfect coverage of New Orleans receiver R.J. Harris in the third quarter of the 34-22 win. On a night where the Pats defense provided plenty of “wow” moments, LeBlanc’s ranked up there with the best.
But the Florida Atlantic product knows resting on his laurels can get him cut as soon as you can say, “Nice pick.”
“A lot of people were just like, ‘That was a hell of a play,’ you know, ‘Great play for my first NFL game,’ and stuff like that,” the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder said. “So I was just like, ‘Thank you, appreciate it.’ I can’t (dwell) on that too long. I just have to get better each and every day.”
LeBlanc finds himself in a hotly contested battle for what could be the fifth cornerback spot on the 53-man roster, although there’s never any guarantee that the team even keeps five. That said, with players like Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman and second-round draft pick Cyrus Jones almost assuredly making the cut, there isn’t much margin for error.
At least during yesterday’s practice on the humid fields behind Gillette Stadium, though, LeBlanc moved into what appeared to be a select group. For the majority of practice, he was paired with Butler and Coleman, while fellow undrafted rookie free agent corner Jonathan Jones took reps with Ryan and Cyrus Jones.
Those combinations suggest the coaches want to give an extra long look to LeBlanc and Jonathan Jones, both of whom played well Thursday. But while that’s a good sign for LeBlanc, he has proper perspective on it.
“I mean, I really don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff,” LeBlanc said. “I just hone in on whatever I can do and whenever my opportunity is presented to me and make the best of all my opportunities.”
Yesterday’s practice lagged at times, a bit of a calm before the storm when the Bears enter Foxboro for joint practices today. So there weren’t as many chances for LeBlanc to really pull off something as memorable as he did the other night.
But when LeBlanc pulls off his next “wow” moment, he knows he’ll have to forget that, too.
“That’s just one play,” he said. “My main focus is to put that in the past. I know it was a great play, but I know I can’t just stay on that great play. I’ve got to come out here to practice and improve and get better each and every day, and that’s all that’s been on my mind.”