DETROIT — The Jamie Collins experiment continues to produce excellent results for the New England Patriots.
Collins made a brief yet productive appearance during Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, his first game back in a Patriots uniform since the team traded him away in 2016. Playing 11 defensive snaps (two series), the veteran linebacker tallied a sack and helped blow up two running plays in New England’s 31-3 victory at Ford Field.
It was the latest impressive showing in what’s been a stellar summer for the 29-year-old, who returned to New England on a one-year, prove-it deal this past spring.
“That guy, obviously, we all know he’s a heck of a football player,” said safety Duron Harmon, who, like Collins, was drafted by the Patriots in 2013. “(He’s) a guy that’s going to be good for this defense. But it’s a way to just start off the year, him getting a sack. He’s going to be good. He’s a good football player — we all know that — and we’re lucky to have him on the team.”
On the Lions’ second offensive snap, Collins lined up on the right edge, slipped past a Jesse James block, stood up fullback Nick Bawden and grabbed hold of C.J. Anderson, dragging the burly running back down for a 2-yard gain with help from cornerback Joejuan Williams and linebacker John Simon.
Later, on Detroit’s second series, Collins used a speed rush to beat left tackle Tyrell Crosby and drop quarterback Tom Savage for one of the nine sacks New England recorded in the game.
The Patriots took full advantage of Collins’ versatility, aligning him as an off-the-line ‘backer on four snaps, on the edge on five and in a two-point stance over the guard on two. They’ve done the same during practice in training camp, and Collins consistently has put himself in position to make plays on the ball.
Over two competitive joint practices with the Lions ahead of Thursday’s exhibition matchup, Collins broke up three passes and forced a fumble.
“He?s been great,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said before the Patriots left for Detroit. “He had a great spring. He?s had a good training camp. He?s done everything we?ve asked him to do and he?s done it well. Glad we have him. I think he?ll help our team.”