Matt Judon already sounds like a Patriot.
Speaking the Belichickian language is a common occurrence for new faces in Foxborough. But as the player who signed for the most guaranteed money ($32 million) in the Patriots’ offseason spending spree, Judon carries a little extra weight. So it’s certainly promising that he sounds like he’s taken quite well to the “teaching” phase for the Pats’ coaches to start the 2021 season.
“Just a learning experience, learning different calls, different plays, different schemes, different systems every day,” Judon said Tuesday. “It just continues to build and build, and I’m enjoying it, though. It’s been fun. It’s been different than Baltimore. But at the end of the day, it’s football. So right now, I got to just continue to learn and continue to apply the film to the teachings that I get from my coaches and take that out onto the field to execute.”
Judon spent the first five seasons of his career with the Ravens, so 2021 is almost like his rookie season as far as learning a new defense with new teammates and coaches. And there’s not a whole lot that he or anyone else can do at this point, anyway. These practices are in shells with no contact. So for now, it’s just about educating himself and getting used to the guys next to him.
“I haven’t been here that long, honestly,” Judon said. “I came last week to OTAs, and I’ve been here, obviously, these two days. But it’s football and everybody here wants to win. Right now, we’re just learning. We haven’t even put pads on. So we’re just learning how to execute the calls, and you really can’t compete without pads on. But I think when we get past, we’ll know a little bit more.”
Judon joins the returning Kyle Van Noy and former Dolphin Raekwon McMillan as free-agent additions to the Patriots’ suddenly loaded linebacker room. Dont’a Hightower is also back after opting out of the 2020 season. Josh Uche, Chase Winovich, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, and Terez Hall all remain on the roster, with the second-year pro Uche standing out to reporters in attendance at OTAs and minicamp. There is certainly potential for this group to be among the better pass-rush corps in the National Football League in 2021, with Judon as the anchor.
But the former Raven, wisely, isn’t going there yet. Maybe training camp. But he sounds too focused on getting acclimated and getting better to make any daring proclamations about a team that hasn’t strapped on the pads yet.
“I’d love to say that we’re gonna be the best pass rush, but if we don’t go out there and execute, we don’t execute,” Judon said. “So we’ve got some guys that know how to rush the passer. But we’ve all got to go out there and – first of all, I’ve got to just do my job. Do my job, whatever the call this on that snap, I’ve got to execute, and sometimes the ball might get out early, I just want to be effective in every play. We’re gonna see when the Sundays come.”
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.