The New England Patriots held their final open practice of training camp on Wednesday in Foxboro, as they get ready for Friday night’s preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
Here are six players that stood out on the field, for various reasons…
LB Matthew Judon
We credited Judon with three “sacks” during team drills, in a fully-padded but relatively light session. Judon’s continued excellence off the edge has underlined the Patriots’ serious concerns at right tackle and inexperience on the interior, but he makes a lot of blockers look bad.
Judon, who recently got a big bump in guaranteed money and a slight raise for 2023, has predictably made a huge difference for the Patriots defense since the second he started participating in full. The key for him in 2023, as it was in 2022, is to sustain a high level of play and production over the course of a full season.
Asked about the communication on defense, as the team transitions out of the Devin McCourty era, Judon expressed confidence in the Patriots’ new defensive quarterbacks. We’re thinking Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jonathan Jones.
“Shoot, I be thinking it’s fluid,” Judon said, on the defensive communication. “I think our play-callers do a great job, from the second level to the third level, and they communicate it to us up front. So, if we get a look and we have a check, I think it’s been getting out fast and communicated. It’s just a different voice, but I think it’s just as sharp as it was with Dev.”
“I think we all thought that it was going to slow down or be a little bit complicated, because Dev’s been doing it for so long, but I don’t think so. I think it’s as sharp as it’s ever been with me being around here and I think our play-callers are doing a great job.”
Communication will be key for the unit in the post-McCourty era, but so will Judon simply being the All-Pro-caliber edge rusher he’s been for two seasons. Preferably well into the winter.