Judon gets on the same page as he enters 2nd season with Pats | Soccer

By GLEN FARLEY – Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — A year later, Matthew Judon no longer feels like he’s trying to learn to speak a new language.

“We all speak the same language and I can talk to my coaches differently this time than last year,” Judon said at the end of the New England Patriots’ second practice of their mandatory minicamp on Wednesday.

“We’re reading the same book, (speaking) the same language, on the same page now, and we can build on what we did last year.”

A year ago around this time, Judon was adjusting to football life in New England.

After five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, the 6-foot-3, 261-pound linebacker signed with the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on March 19, 2021.

A two-time Pro Bowler with the Ravens, Judon’s impact on the Patriots defense was immediate.

Judon had 6 1/2 sacks in the first five games of the 2021 season. He then finished the season with a leading and career 12 1/2 sacks (he also had 60 tackles) and earned league honors. Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season.

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However, his production dropped at the end of the season. Judon hasn’t had a sack or a single quarterback hit in the last four games of the regular season. He was credited with just one tackle and one QB hit (no sacks) in the Patriots’ 47-17 playoff loss at Buffalo.

A season later, Judon, 29, is looking to improve his game in 2021.

“Every year is a new year, I always say,” Judon said. “I don’t know how I’m going to be stuck. It’s going from game to game, from team to team. I just hope to improve my game, no matter what it is or what I’m asked to do. Just be a better player, a better teammate and a better friend.

That Judon’s comfort level in the Patriots system has increased is evident at minicamp where he was occasionally seen giving advice to the team’s younger players.

For Judon, it’s a form of role reversal, a reward for the guidance he received as he went from fifth-round pick Baltimore (out of Grand Valley State) in the 2016 draft to a player who has now totaled 296 tackles and 47 sacks in 93 regular season games over six seasons.

“I’m just trying to pass on some of the wisdom that was passed on to me growing up,” Judon said. “I’ve had great mentors and leaders throughout my years in the league, and I think it would be terrible of me to leave this league and take all my knowledge with me.

“I’m here, and if they ask me, I’ll help them. So anything I can do to make their career easier, that’s what I’m here for.

Coming off a 10-7 2021 regular season win that was followed by their one-sided playoff loss to the Bills, Judon is eager to see what the Patriots’ passing rush can bring to the team in 2022.

“I think we’re going to be good,” he said of the pass rush. “We have to see. I like spending time with everyone in the locker room, and I’m just happy to be back… Everything is different. We have a different dressing room. We are going to have a different team this year. I just enjoy the moments.

“It’s always going to a different roster, a different dressing room, and it’s going to be like that throughout the year. So we just have to adapt. Whatever group is put in place, but we we have to play, whatever 11s are on the pitch, we have to adapt and we have to ride with that and we have to perform.

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