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Dont'a Hightower changed workout routine to stay on field this season

Ryan Hannable
December 28, 2018 - 3:43 pm

FOXBORO -- Prior to this year, Dont'a Hightower hadn't played more than 13 games in a season since 2013.

That will change this year, as he's already played in 14 of the 15 games with the only game missed coming in late October at Buffalo due to a knee injury.

Hightower acknowledged Friday he changed his workout routine last offseason to focus more on smaller muscles.

“That’s literally a lot of what I’ve been doing. You hear a lot of guys just doing more treatment and stuff, and that’s literally kind of been my story,” he said. “I haven’t been doing the heavy weights, the heavy squat stuff. I’ve been doing a lot more core, a lot more function movement stuff. I feel like that’s definitely kind of helped me out. I’ve still kept my power, and I’ve stayed lean. I’ve stayed healthy for the most part, so I’m just going to continue to build on that.”

Back in 2017, it was reported Hightower was working with Alex Guerrero, but it is unknown if he still is.

While he's been on the field a lot, his production hasn't been like in the past as he's ninth on the team in tackles with 45. It is worth noting he hasn't lined up in the middle of the defense as much since he's been more on the edge.

“The defense runs a little bit different,” Hightower said. “We run the schemes a little bit different. So, to you, it might look a little bit different. To me, it’s the same with a little twist. The more you can do and whatever’s asked is what’s done around here. The more that I’m able to do, the more I can put on my plate.”

He added: “We do it a lot, especially being a team that changes week to week. A lot of our calls change. A lot of the things we do changes — not necessarily fundamental-wise or technique-wise. Whether it’s me or [Devin McCourty] or it’s [Kyle Van Noy] or Malcom [Brown] or Trey [Flowers], we’re always talking, always trying to make sure we’re on the same page, because a lot of times in a defense it just takes one guy to be off of an assignment or a check or something and everything goes crazy. So, we try to stay on the same page, and if we’re on the same page and we’re at where one guy’s thinking, then we’re able to get the checks a lot quicker, a lot faster.”

Regardless of production, it has benefited the Patriots defense just having him on the field all year because of his knowledge.

Related: Tom Brady, Patriots laser-focused on game vs. Jets, not looking ahead to potential first-round bye