Fans and media have no problem throwing around the “high-motor” label when talking about defensive football players, especially young prospects.
But when coaches and teammates start describing a player that way, that’s a bit of a different beast.
After Patriots third-round rookie Chase Winovich put forth another impressive, active performance in Saturday night’s 22-17 preseason win in Tennessee, the legend of young edge defender’s playing motor continues to grow.
“Chase is a high-motor player,” the tough-to-impress Bill Belichick said. “He plays hard. He’s very good in pursuit. You see it in the kicking game. You see it on defense. He’s got a good motor. He plays hard.”
Against the Titans Winovich notched five tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and two QB hits. He also drew a holding call. This came a week after the former Michigan star had four tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss and two QB hits in his professional debut in Detroit against the Lions.
So, how did rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham describe Winovich as he gave way to his defensive teammate at the postgame press conference microphone at Nissan Stadium in Nashville? How else?
“Winovich? Oh he’s right there,” Stidham said with a smile. “He’s a great dude…has a motor like no other. So he’s a heck of a player.”
For his part, and given his well-documented personality, Winovich took a lighter approach to an opening question about his playing style.
“Ever since high school my grandmother has been promising me if I played hard and didn’t get hurt she’s been promising me $5 and a chocolate bar, either Hershey’s or Sarris Candies,” Winovich deadpanned. “So today was just another day where I went out there and said, ‘I gotta play hard. I need that $5 and I need the candy.’”
As he did a week earlier, Winovich took a more serious tone when he deflected his success toward his teammates and coaches, both for their work on the preseason game field and the way they’ve helped the young edge player develop this summer.
That high motor that everyone is always talking about, now including a legendary coach like Belichick, that’s always simply been a part of Winovich’s makeup. Whether he likes it or not.
“It’s weird, I really don’t know why I’m built like that. It might be a gift and a curse,” Winovich concluded. “Sometimes when it’s extremely hot and they are just trying to run the ball away, I see the guy and in my head there is a little part of me that’s like, ‘you know what, you are probably not going to make this play, maybe this time save it for the next one when it comes to you.’ But you’ll see me just sprinting and trying to hit somebody or hit something.”
Because that’s what high-motor players do. And pretty much everyone agrees, that’s what Winovich is.