David Patten has not been a Redskin for all that long but already he's been having an influence on teammates. Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs had this to say about Patten: "David definitely has a positive outlook. He's coming from a championship team. He actually said to me that he won't let the Redskins fail this year."
Patten, the 5-10, 190-pound ninth-year player out of Western Carolina, was a key member of the New England Patriots' Super Bowl runs of 2001, 2003 and last season. He also gained playoff experience with the New York Giants in 1997.
So far this season, Patten has four receptions for 31 yards. In the Week 2 game against Dallas, he struggled through cramps and was sidelined for parts of the second half.
The veteran leadership that Patten, who joined the Redskins in early March, is able to bring to Washington cannot be undervalued.
Patten may rank as the Redskins' top off-season addition in terms of what he can do on and off the field.
Said head coach Joe Gibbs: "One thing David brings to this team is the kind of person he is. He's a leader. When we signed him, he came in and had a little talk with me. It was one of the most emotional things I've been through with a player. He was so appreciative.
A year ago, as the Redskins' offense struggled through a 6-10 season, stretching the field and making an occasional big play via the passing game, was, in large measure, missing. That's why Patten, along with Santana Moss, is such a key find.
Patten is coming off of a season in which he caught 44 passes for 800 yards and seven touchdowns. One of his touchdowns covered 48 yards. Patten averaged 18.2 yards per catch.
Among AFC receivers with at least 40 catches last year, Ashley Lelie of Denver led the conference with a 20.1-yard average per catch. Moss and Patten were next, with Moss averaging 18.6 yards per catch.
Moss is off to a strong start, with nine catches for 255 yards, a 28.3-yards per catch average, and two touchdowns.
Patten knows his time will come.
"What Santana and I bring to the table is speed, the ability to make plays down the field," Patten said. "But then we can also catch the short passes and then turn them up-field and make something happen. We know a lot is expected of us. We know all eyes are on us. It's not about myself, it's not about Santana, it's about our core."
Patten spent the last four seasons in a New England Patriots passing offense that went out of its way to spread the ball around. Quarterback Tom Brady in recent years has taken on that egalitarian approach toward receivers Patten, Troy Brown, David Givens and Deion Branch.
"In New England, we had a lot of unselfish guys," Patten said. "If you caught 10 balls, that's wonderful. But if you caught one ball, you should have the same excitement about being happy for your teammates."
With that as backdrop, Patten arrives in Washington with that same team-first attitude and demand for respect. He has started 58 of 112 games with 236 catches for 3,519 yards and 20 touchdowns, for New England (2001-04), Cleveland (2000) and the Giants (1997-99).
In terms of making a name for himself across the league, Patten jumped out in 2001. That year, he became the first player in Patriots' franchise history and only the sixth player in the NFL since 1960 to record a touchdown pass, touchdown reception and rush for a touchdown in one game. That occurred in an Oct. 21 in a 38-17 New England win over Indianapolis.
During that same game, he was also on the receiving end of the longest play in Patriots history when he caught a 91-yard touchdown pass from Brady.
Patten's three Super Bowl rings give him instant credibility in the locker room. He admits that he expects to be a leader on and off the field.
"You lead by example," Patten said. "This is what I bring to the table. I'm going to work to hard day-in and day-out."