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Assessing the return of Jamie Collins

3 min read
Assessing the return of Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins, in his second stint with the New England Patriots, is making a case to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

The New England Patriots drafted Jamie Collins in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Now in his second stint with the franchise, it looks like the only thing that has changed is Collins’ jersey number.

The return of Collins has totally given the Patriots defense a new identity. His athleticism, intelligence, and versatility make him a “roaming” type of linebacker; meaning he can line up, defend, and just about execute from anywhere. He plays like he’s the fastest guy on the field, which is very impressive at 6’3” and 255lbs.

Frankly, it has been an absolute joy and a lot of fun to watch Collins play this season as a fan.

When he left the team in 2016, Collins was already a two-time Super Bowl champion. He joined the Cleveland Browns and had several great seasons, regardless of how Cleveland’s records looked in those years he was a Brown. In 2016, Collins recorded 112 combined tackles, three passes defended, three sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. In 2018, Collins followed through with 104 combined tackles, four sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery.

Through the first six weeks of the 2019 season, Collins has been one of the best linebackers in the league. He has accumulated 30 total tackles, 4.5 quarterback sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one touchdown. He’s definitely in the early talks of being a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

The second level of New England’s defense is absolutely stacked, and the return of Collins to the Patriots interior defense is 100% the difference. Having Collins playing alongside Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy has been a nightmare for opposing offenses. The trio of Collins, Van Noy, and Hightower has the potential to be the best linebacker corps in the league.

At the beginning of the season at a press conference, Bill Belichick was asked about bringing back Jamie Collins. Per Doug Kyed of NESN, this is what Belichick had to say:

“Jamie has three more years of experience. He [Collins] has always been a very smart football player. I think he’s more aware and just more experienced than he was when he was here before. He’s done a really good job for us. We’ve asked him to fill multiple positions defensively. He’s done that. He did that before, but he’s, I’d say, probably expanded that a little bit. His experience allowed him to communicate with more confidence – calls, adjustments, things like that, alerts that he picks up. He works well with Don’t’a [Hightower], Elandon [Roberts], all of the linebackers. He does a good job of that, Kyle [Van Noy], they all work well together. He’s done a good job.”

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When you look at who is part of this defense, not much has changed from over the years. The New England Patriots still have Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, etc. Now, with the rerun of Jamie Collins, it’s like the “gang” is all back together again! This humble defense is on pace to become one of the best in the history of the NFL.

New England Patriots: Assessing the return of Jamie Collins

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