The New England Patriots defense was key to them winning their sixth Super Bowl last season. Although, this offseason, they showed they aren’t staying with the status quo by bringing back Jamie Collins.
As many Patriots fans remember, Collins spent his first three and a half years in the NFL with New England. Collins became one of the most versatile linebackers in the NFL during his first go around with the Patriots.
In his time spent with New England, Collins racked up 326 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and five interceptions. He was a swiss army knife on Belichick’s defense that became one of the best at his position.
Although, the only thing that was holding Collins back was his character issues off of the field. Therefore, the Patriots saw Collins as someone who wasn’t worth the risk at the time and shipped him to the Cleveland Browns.
With Cleveland, Collins performed decently but not at the same level he once did with the reigning Super Bowl champs. In his three years with the Browns, Collins amassed 204 total tackles, seven sacks, 25 tackles for loss, and two interceptions.
The veteran linebacker didn’t get to showcase his versatility as often in Cleveland though. However, the Patriots decided to sign Collins this offseason to return to playing for Belichick.
So what should be the expectations for Collins for the Patriots in 2019? He’s still a talented player but he may not be the dynamic linebacker he once was in New England in his first stint with the franchise.
Nevertheless, Collins figures to have a decent-sized role on the defense. As it stands now, Collins will likely find himself playing at all of the linebacker positions at certain times. This is due to Belichick’s ability to put his players in the best spot to be their best.
Again, Collins was remarkable with the Patriots before with his ability to play all of the linebacker positions. He also was sometimes even used as a defensive end with his hand on the ground.
The athleticism that Collins possesses allows him to be moved around with ease. In today’s NFL, you need linebackers who can help stuff the run while also being able to cover running backs out of the backfield.
Of course, Collins can do both of those things for New England. Currently, it seems like Collins will rotate in with guys like Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts. All in all, he’ll be used where he is needed at any moment.
This time around, Collins seems to be in a more mature state of mind. Maybe his time in Cleveland humbled him to the point where he realizes what it took to win a Super Bowl (like he did with New England in 2014).
Therefore, Collins can now be considered a veteran in the locker room. Selfless veterans are one of the main characteristics of the Patriots dynasty. It’s one of the reasons why New England continues to lure veteran players every offseason.
Collins figures to play a semi-important role with the Patriots in 2019.
Although, if he can resemble anything he once was with New England before, he may find himself in the Super Bowl with the Patriots again.