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Matthew Judon already putting his stamp on the 2022 Patriots


Matt Judon can’t help but be the life of the party, no matter where he is.

During Wednesday’s minicamp session, the Patriots linebacker had a noticeable bounce in his step, whether he was grooving to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”, which was blasting over the loudspeakers during warmups, or going through drills.

At one point, though, it was interesting to see Judon working with several of the Patriots young pass rushers, namely Anfernee Jennings, Ronnie Perkins and Christian Barmore.

Judon was illustrating different pass rush moves to the younger players. He was basically giving a tutorial to other players who have to follow his lead and get to the quarterback this season.

Let’s just say if the Patriots defense is going to have a chance against the league’s pass-heavy offenses they’re going to face in 2022, they’ll need to dial up the pass rush even more this year.

Judon led the team last year, his first with the team, with 12.5 sacks. His presence certainly helped early on, but when he faded a bit down the stretch, so did the pass rush.

While Judon needs to be impactful throughout the season, others also have to step up, whether it’s Josh Uche, Perkins, Jennings, Barmore, Deatrich Wise or whoever is playing opposite the Patriots veteran sack leader.

Because after Judon, the next closest in sacks were Kyle Van Noy (5), who is no longer with the team, followed by Wise and Uche, with three sacks each.

So it was good to watch Judon impart his knowledge and try to help his younger teammates going forward. With the cornerback position a bit of a question mark following the departures of J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore, the pass rush becomes even more important.

“I’m just trying to impart some of the wisdom that was imparted on me growing up,” Judon said when asked about coaching up some of the younger pass rushers following Day 2 at minicamp. “I had great mentors and leaders throughout my years in the league. I think it would be terrible of me to leave this league, and take all my knowledge with me.”

They might take some, they might be, ‘Alright, this is what I do,’ but as long as I’m there and if they ask, I’m going to help. Whatever I can do to make their career smoother, that’s what I’m going to do.”

In other words, he’s the anti-Ryan Tannehill. Unlike the Titans quarterback, Judon believes he is supposed to mentor the younger players, even if he has his own job to worry about, or one of them might be in line to succeed him.

“They might take some (advice), they might be, ‘Alright, this is what I do,’ but as long as I’m there and if they ask, I’m going to help,” he said. “Whatever I can do to make their career smoother, that’s what I’m here for.”


That’s always the way to go, and the way Bill Belichick has always preached.

After signing a lucrative free agent deal (four years, $56 million) to come to New England last year, Judon, who skipped Organized Team Activities, has made his presence felt during mandatory minicamp.

Even if the players aren’t yet in pads, Judon is making the most of the time spent with his position group.

“I think we’re going to be good. We gotta see,” he said. “I enjoy spending time with everybody in the locker room. I’m just glad to be back.”

The red-sleeved Judon was a menace to quarterbacks through much of the season. He registered those career-high sack totals, along with 25 quarterback hits, in the first 13 games. He knows he needs to be a force throughout to help the back end of the defense, which didn’t force the Bills to punt the last two times the teams met.

“Every year’s a new year. I always say I don’t know how I’m going to be blocked. I just go from game to game, team to team,” he said. “I just hopefully improve on my play, regardless of what it is or what I’m asked to do. Just be a better player, be a better teammate, be a better friend.”

Last season, Judon was just trying to learn the defense, and establish himself with a new team.

This year, he feels much more comfortable with the system, and his place on the team.

“I’m so much more prepared,” said Judon. “We’re all speaking the same language and I can talk to my coaches differently this time than last year. We’re reading the same book, same language, same page now and we can expand upon what we did last year.”

With one more minicamp practice to go before taking time off before training camp, Judon seemed pretty excited about what lies ahead.

While it’s only minicamp, Judon was sure to put his stamp on the proceedings.

“Everything is different,” said Judon. “We got a different locker room and we’ll have a different team this year. I’m just enjoying the moments.”


Kason Sage
the authorKason Sage