FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Now that he is on the other side of the most heated rivalry in the AFC East, New England Patriots linebacker Victor Hobson notices the increased intensity in the division.
Hobson played with the New York Jets for five years before signing with the Patriots as a free agent, and was a starter his final four seasons with New York.
He played for the Jets last season when the strained relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Jets coach Eric Mangini came up during Spygate.
Then came the news that the Jets had traded for Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre and released veteran Chad Pennington, who promptly signed with the Miami Dolphins, keeping him in the AFC East.
Hobson played with Pennington for all five years he was with the Jets, and said he has learned not to be surprised by anything that happens in the NFL.
``You expect the unexpected when it comes to the business side of the game,'' Hobson said. ``As a player, I've always said I'll do what I can do and don't even get involved in it.''
Hobson said Pennington would bring a lot to the Dolphins.
``He's a true competitor. Wherever he is, he's going to be a benefit to that team . He's a great teammate, a great leader, and I think he'll do well.''
Hobson said camp is going well for him.
``I'm trying to learn the system and get better every day,'' he said. ``I'm just hoping I can stay healthy.''
The Patriots worked out in the rain on the Gillette Stadium turf Monday night before heading back to the practice fields Tuesday afternoon to prepare for Sunday night's second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
``Starting Wednesday, we'll start working on Tampa,'' Belichick said Tuesday. ``That'll be good because a lot of things they do have applications to other teams we'll see during the course of the year, in all three phases of the game.
``This is a real good opportunity for our football team, going down there playing in a little warmer weather, playing a good football team that has a lot of tough schemes to deal with will make for a good week for us,'' he said.
The competition for playing time in the backfield has been intense. Veteran free agent LaMont Jordan played well in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
The others hoping to back up Laurence Maroney include third-down specialist Kevin Faulk; fullback Heath Evans and fullback/special teams player Kyle Eckel.
``We will keep the best football players; the ones that help our football team the most. Whoever they are. If we would keep four quarterbacks, I would think we could keep five running backs,'' Belichick said.
He said that Sammy Morris doesn't appear hampered by the injury to his sternum that sidelined him last season and doctors have cleared him for practice.
``Sammy's done everything we've asked him to do during camp.''

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