FOXBOROUGH – Matthew Judon is close to making New England Patriots history.
The Pro Bowl edge rusher has 15.5 sacks this season, which is only three shy of Andre Tippett’s record of 18.5 sacks for the most in a single season in franchise history. Tippett’s record has stood since 1984, which was the first season the now Hall of Famer became a Pro Bowler.
As the Patriots are chasing the playoffs, Judon admitted he’s chasing the franchise record, too.
“Yeah, I’d like to [break the record]. I’m pretty sure Tipp is tired of sitting on that throne, so hopefully I can dethrone him,” Judon said with a laugh on Thursday.
But as the Patriots are still in the playoff hunt at 7-8, Judon also knows he can’t be too focused on just getting sacks if they want to win their final two games.
Matthew Judon: “It’s been a crazy year but we’re still in and still got something to play for.”#Patriots #ForeverNE pic.twitter.com/aoZ426yYWH
— Conor Roche (@ConorRoche27) December 29, 2022
“It comes within a scheme and a defensive game plan,” Judon said. “I can’t really just go out there wildin’ and chasing records and chasing goals and abandoning my duties and my discipline to the team.”
That leaves Jonathan Jones as the only regular contributor at corner that’s likely to play in Sunday’s game as they face Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. That leaves Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade as the only other healthy corners on the active roster while practice squad corners Tae Hayes and Quandre Mosely could be elevated for Sunday’s game.
Judon, who dropped back into coverage a bit more in recent weeks with some success, joked that he could lock down Waddle on an island before giving a vote of confidence in the players who’ll likely have to step up on Sunday.
“Shoot, they ain’t filling in,” the Patriots standout said. “This is an opportunity for them to get to start or get to play a lot. It ain’t no fill-in. It ain’t no ‘just because.’ They’re here for a reason. They’ve got a jersey for a reason. They’ve got a helmet for a reason. They were assigned a position. This is just how their life was supposed to play out, and this is their chance. This is their opportunity.
“You see it a lot. Guys don’t get an opportunity, they don’t get a chance, and then once they do, they take off. That’s how their career ascends, and that’s how their career starts. So this is their opportunity. It ain’t no fill-in role.”
"It comes within a scheme… I can't just go out there and be chasing records."
Matthew Judon talks about being 3 sacks away from beating the record for most sacks by a Patriots in a single season (currently held by Andre Tippett) pic.twitter.com/8OmMjakz62
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) December 29, 2022
If it’s any consolation for the Patriots, the Dolphins will be without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after he suffered a concussion last week. But that still might not be enough to stop Hill and Waddle, who arguably the biggest reasons why the Dolphins have the No. 2 passing offense in football.
Bryant and Wade both struggled last week as each of them allowed a touchdown reception to Cincinnati Bengals receiver Trenton Irwin.