FOXBORO – The New England Patriots’ first preseason game is on Thursday and some under-the-radar players will be out at Gillette Stadium for their 2022 debuts. One of those unheralded Patriots is defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale.
Ekuale is entering his fourth season as a pro and his second with New England after signing a futures contract this past offseason. While he did not make the active 53-man roster last year, he was elevated from the practice squad multiple times last year, which led him on a stressful journey.
“It was a rough experience for me, coming in and learning the system,” Ekuale said on his weekly elevations. “I did not know until Saturday, close to the game, but I gotta stay prepared.”
This Patriots defensive front is all fairly new to the system, as a number of players are either joining the team this year or are entering their second season. This leads the group to lean on one another for guidance.
“We all work together as pass rushers and learn from each other,” Ekuale said.
When asked what he is working on specifically during camp, he was very vocal about doing whatever he needs to.
“Whether it is playing the run or rushing the passer, I just have perfect my craft,” Ekuale said. “Focus on my technique and my fundamentals and getting better every day.”
Although Ekuale will be suspended for the first two games of the regular season, he is still able to participate in training camp and the preseason. These practice sessions allow him to hone his skillset, which he tries to mimic after a top defensive lineman.
“Somebody that I always watch playing is Aaron Donald,” Ekuale said. “He’s the best in the league, so I always try and get techniques from other players.”
New England will welcome the visiting New York Giants into Gillette Stadium for the preseason opener Thursday. Ekuale, among the other defensive linemen, will look to prove themselves in a game situation for the first time this year.