FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Jarvis Green plays behind three first-round draft picks on the New England Patriots defensive line. He doesn’t mind being a backup, though, especially when he sacks Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer three times in eight minutes.

He did that last Sunday and his prospects for reaching the quarterback again this Sunday are bright when he goes against Miami’s Daunte Culpepper, who has been sacked 21 times in four games.

Although he rarely starts, Green is a valuable member of a deep defensive line.

“It’s not frustrating. I’ve been doing this for a while and you get used to it,” Green said. “If that was really the case, I would have probably, I guess, entered free agency and went somewhere else. But that’s not the case. I’m happy here.”

His three sacks against the Bengals came in the fourth quarter. On the first, he stripped the ball from Palmer and recovered a fumble at the Cincinnati 13-yard line. That set up Corey Dillon’s 1-yard touchdown run and a 31-13 lead.

This Sunday, his target is Culpepper, who suffered a serious knee injury last year.

“It must be tough because you’re not moving around and you’re just trying to get the ball down the field,” Green said. “I think it can be very hard for a quarterback to get things going.”

Miami coach Nick Saban has a good idea of what Culpepper will be staring at.

Defensive ends Richard Seymour and Ty Warren and nose tackle Vince Wilfork all were drafted in the first round. Green played for Saban at Louisiana State where he had 20 sacks in 41 games before being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2002.

“I had no doubt that he would do well,” Saban said. “Jarvis has made a tremendous amount of improvement. He was dominating in the game with Cincinnati, pushing the pocket in the middle, and creating a pretty good amount of havoc for a pretty good quarterback and a pretty good passing team.”

Until he zeroed in on Palmer, a performance that earned him NFL defensive player of the week honors, Green’s most productive game came in the 2004 AFC championship game when he had 2 sacks against Peyton Manning in a 24-14 win over Indianapolis.

Green also excelled in the second game this season. He had a career-high 10 tackles and a half sack in a reserve role when the Patriots beat the New York Jets 24-17.

“When he goes out and has a couple of sacks like he did last week against Cincinnati, there’s a big hoopla about his great production and all of that, but really, on a game-by-game play basis, he has a lot of other plays like that,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s very professional and always ready to go and can do a number of different things for us.”

When he’s not on the field, Green has to stay warm so he keeps moving on the sideline. When he’s in the game, he has an advantage of being fresher than offensive linemen he’s trying to overpower.

He also has an edge because of the attention teams focus on the other defensive linemen, especially Seymour, who has been to four Pro Bowls in his five full seasons.

“A lot of guys are going to put more emphasis on him,” Green said. “That means a lot for guys like me and other guys to get the chance to go out there and just take advantage of it.”

He plays primarily in passing situations and admits it took time to adjust to not starting.

“But at some point, you know where you stand and you know what your job is,” Green said. “I can’t go out to practice and just go half speed or just give me two snaps and that’s it because that’s the way I play in the game.”

“I have to go out there and do everything everybody else is doing.”

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