Many veterans around the National Football League probably don’t take preseason games all too serious, but don’t count New England Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon among them.
The defensive standout, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Patriots this offseason, seems to be all business entering Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium.
“I don’t (get) anxious, but I am ready,” Judon said after practice Tuesday, per the team. “Every time I have the opportunity to step on the football field is a gift. I won’t take it for granted. However many plays I’m playing, if I got to play through the fourth quarter, whatever it is, I’m going to give it my all and my best. You never know when it’s your last play, so take advantage of all of them.
“Like I said, you take every opportunity and you give it your most. You don’t want to put bad film out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s preseason, the fifth game of the season, you’re playing a team that’s 0-something, or you guys are 0-something, when you go out there, that film lasts forever,” Judon said. “We can pull up film from LT (Lawrence Taylor) or Warren Sapp or any of the greats, and whenever they go out there and that eye in the sky is on, they’re performing.”
Judon, 28, was one of the best edge defenders available on the open market. He played his first five NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and was selected to two Pro Bowls. He’s now a member of a deep linebacker group with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, etc.
“It’s going to feel good, Judon said. “You just get to let it go a little bit more. You start ramping it up, ramping it up, you’re just fine-tuning until you get to the first preseason game and you get to hit somebody else.
And Judon is well-adjusted to hitting others on the football field. He registered 50 tackles with nine tackles for loss, six sacks, 21 QB hits, two passes defended and one safety during 14 games last season. Patriots fans are going to grow to love his versatility as he has showed the ability to rush the passer, defend the run and even drop back into coverage.
Now he’s just looking to perform at the level he expects of himself, and the ways others have grown to expect, too. And he wants to be held accountable if that’s not the case.
“With any football game, we’re going to have reporters there. Y’all are going to report what y’all see. If I come out there and look sloppy, that’s what y’all are going to report and that’s what y’all should report,” Judon said. “Y’all shouldn’t preface it with, ‘Well, but it was preseason.’ So, when I come out here, I have to do my job and I have to perform well. I think everybody on the defense is going to take that mindset and when we come out here, we have to look as a unit, as a team.”
The Patriots won’t practice Wednesday as they get set for Washington on Thursday. It will be New England’s first of three preseason games as the Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants later this month.
The post Don’t Tell Matthew Judon Patriots-Washington Is Simply Preseason Opener appeared first on NESN.com.
Leave a Reply