New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • Something clicked for Patriots linebacker Josh Uche right around Halloween. That’s not to say he began the season playing poorly, but he’s been on a tear since. In his last five games Uche has recorded seven sacks, which is the second-most in the league in that span just half a sack behind Nick Bosa. With Uche’s recent surge, the league is starting to take notice of what the third-year linebacker brings to the field.

    On Wednesday, Uche was the subject of a breakdown from Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, who does weekly breakdowns through The 33rd Team. Jordan, who is himself a three-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl pass rusher, took note of one play Uche made against the Bills on Thursday.

  • Matthew Judon has spoken highly of this guy, and there’s a reason why. Because Josh Uche got that sauce now,” Jordan says, introducing the clip of Uche’s second quarter strip sack of Josh Allen. “He’s coming off the edge and, I mean – they were playing the Bills, but he looked like Von Miller from the Bills with that patented ghost that he has,” Jordan continues.

    ‘Ghost’ in this context refers to the move that Uche uses here to beat Bills tackle David Quessenberry off the edge. The move is a staple of Miller’s pass rush toolbox. In short, the concept involves quickly punching out at the blocker with an extended arm up high. Then when the blocker reacts to engage, ducking low while bending around the corner, which takes away space for the tackle to hit back.

    “Josh Uche gets off the ball and he’s blazing off the line,” Jordan notes, continuing to break down the play. “He’s able to dip his inside shoulder below the left tackle’s targeted punch. Uche’s too fast, too athletic – he’s able to slip underneath, eliminating that space. And then he brings it back with the rip for the big sack.”

    “Plays like that can be game-changers,” Jordan concludes.

  • Even in the context of just this one play, that’s high praise for Uche, coming from a guy who knows a thing or two about getting after the quarterback himself. Jordan has been an upper-tier pass rusher for most of his career. His 112.5 sacks since getting drafted in 2011 are the second-most in the league in that span. The only player ahead of Jordan is the guy he’s comparing Uche to – Miller. is in a class of his own. Miller has 123.5 sacks since entering the league in 2011, in the same class as Jordan. Miller is a seven-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler.

    Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also happened to be asked about Uche this morning, and praised a lot of the traits that went in to making that play. “Josh is a good athlete. He has good speed off the edge and good pass rush techniques,” Belichick noted. He mentioned Uche’s “availability” has been a key for his breakout this year, after the 2020 second-round pick played just 21 games over his first two seasons while missing time with various injuries.

    “You build that [pass rush skill set] through timing, consistency and running games with your teammates and so forth,” Belichick explained. “He’s done that since he’s been here, but this year he’s been able to do it on a more consistent basis in practice, in training camp, and really build that continuity – as opposed to kind of being in and out of things.”

    Uche’s consistency this season has opened things up for the Patriots’ defense. Having a true pass rush threat opposite Judon has forced the offense to not allocate all of its resources towards slowing him down, like what happened late last year. That impact has fallen off a bit since Christian Barmore landed on IR, but Barmore is eligible to return next week and could get the Patriots’ pass rush back to full strength.

  • Josh Uche’s 2022 game log

    Tkls Fum. Snaps
    Date Week Opp Result Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits FF FR Num Pct
    2022-09-11 1 @ MIA L 7-20 0.0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 17 28%
    2022-09-18 2 @ PIT W 17-14 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 34%
    2022-09-25 3 BAL L 26-37 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 8%
    2022-10-02 4 @ GNB L 24-27 0.0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 16 22%
    2022-10-09 5 DET W 29-0 0.0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 25 38%
    2022-10-16 6 @ CLE W 38-15 DNP
    2022-10-24 7 CHI L 14-33 DNP
    2022-10-30 8 @ NYJ W 22-17 1.0 2 0 2 1 1 0 0 22 37%
    2022-11-06 9 IND W 26-3 3.0 5 1 6 3 2 0 0 25 40%
    2022-11-20 11 NYJ W 10-3 18 36%
    2022-11-24 12 @ MIN L 26-33 1.0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 17 25%
    2022-12-01 13 BUF L 10-24 2.0 6 1 7 0 3 1 0 32 43%
    10 Games 5-5-0 7.0 17 2 19 5 7 1 0
    Provided by View Original Table
    Generated 12/7/2022.
  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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