FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts — Rookie center David Andrews, one of the unsung surprises of the New England Patriots' 3-0 start, will use the team's bye week to go back to school.
"This whole thing is a teaching experience," Andrews said Tuesday. "Just trying to learn. There's so much stuff I don't know, so I just try to suck it all in, kind of like a sponge."
So far, the sponge has been soaking up more than enough.
With starting center Bryan Stork out until at least Week 9 with a head injury and Ryan Wendell battling an undisclosed illness, Andrews, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia, has played every offensive down in the first three games.
The Patriots have scored a league-high 119 points with a rookie center snapping the ball into the capable hands of Tom Brady.
"It's great playing with Tom and Jimmy (backup quarterback Garoppolo) too, they both do a great job at what they do," Andrews said. "It's just good to have guys that are approachable - both those guys. Any time I've had a question I know I've felt comfortable going to ask them."
He says it's not just the quarterbacks giving him advice.
"We've got some great guys - guys that have played a lot of football," he said. "You've got all these resources - you've got to try to use them."
One resource has been coach Bill Belichick, who has gone out of his way to praise Andrews after games.
"I know there's a lot that I've got to work on," Andrews said. "Fortunately there's a lot of good players around me to make up for my mistakes."
Asked about the toughest thing he's had to learn in his brief NFL career, Andrews said: "just a combination of doing all the things right all the time and try to be the best you can be."
The Patriots acquired LB Jon Bostic, Chicago's leading tackler (in just 13 games) last year, from the Bears in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick and released LB Travaris Cadet. After 2014, a coaching change and back and ankle troubles led to Bostic being a game-day inactive for the Bears and now he goes from 0-3 to 3-0. "One thing they tell you coming in is it's a business," Bostic said Monday, standing in front of his stall, which still didn't have his name on it. "You can't be surprised by anything. You just have to keep looking ahead." He said his back issue was one of alignment that has been cleared up and that he is "pretty much there" on his ankle.
AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.orghttp://twitter.com/AP_NFL