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Is Fourth Time The Charm For This Patriots Linebacker?

The Patriots like their blasts to the past, and their signing of Jamie Collins is further evidence of that. Collins has had a lot of success as a Patriot in the past, and can add some depth to a linebacker group that is having a good season.

The Patriots have signed Jamie Collins for what will be his fourth stint with the team. The 32-year-old will bring a veteran presence to the team, and here, we take a look at what he can do for a defensive unit that has been quite successful this year.

A Quick Retrospective On Jamie’s NFL and Patriots Career

Collins started games from his very first season with the Patriots. He impressed early with his athleticism and ability to cover the field well. His broad jump in the combine was a record at the time and it showed on the field. As his tenure in New England went on, he became a full time starter and a significant contributor, and has been important in each of the six seasons he has been a Patriot for in a successful nine-year career.

Through a gaudy stat line of 706 tackles, 19 forced fumbles, 12 interceptions, and 26.5 sacks, Collins’ contributions have always gone beyond his numbers. Particularly, his versatility has been extremely useful. He started his career as an outside linebacker, and also has played significant time in the middle and on the inside and has been effective in that role. He’s an adept tackler and is able to make yard-saving tackles in space.

Furthermore, Collins has performed well in run-stopping roles, but also in pass-rushing roles. He also is an adept coverage linebacker, and while he certainly can’t stop everyone, he is usually able to keep up with opposing receivers when he drops back. With 12 interceptions and 39 pass deflections, he has certainly made his mark. He’s adept at forcing turnovers, and in addition to those interceptions, he also forced 19 fumbles and has recovered eight.

The tape tells the story of someone who always has a sense, often preemptively, of how the play is about to progress and can disrupt offenses in a variety of different ways. Perhaps the best comparison I can think of style-wise is current defensive coach and former Patriots LB Jerod Mayo, and while Collins lacks some of the explosiveness of Mayo, he has a similar disposition and feel for the position.

How Can The Patriots Use Collins As He Is Now?

Speaking of Jerod, he will have to work with Collins and figure out how Jamie best fets in with the defense. With Mack Wilson, JaWhaun Bentley, Matthew Judon leading the way, and Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon McMillian, and Josh Uche providing key depth, Jamie Collins enters a very deep and talented group. With his age and the talent of the rest of the group, he certainly won’t be an every down guy, but there’s absolutely a place for him in the defense.

Having more size than Mack Wilson, he would be useful alongside Wilson in passing down situations as a source of good coverage in short to medium-length passing plays, and in general would be great in the red zone. Collins’ experience in the Patriots system makes him a natural potential leader of the group, both on and off the field. While Collins will thrive the most in passing and shorter-yardage situations, he can serve to be a plug-and-play player with his versatility that can sub in for anyone as need be.

The Bottom Line

While Collins isn’t going to come in and revolutionize the defense, his experience, skill and versatility make him an important source of depth and a situational linebacker that can positively impact the team. It will be exciting to see what the Patriots choose to do with him.

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