Brandon Copeland Reveals Biggest ‘Differentiator’ With Patriots’ Defense

The Patriots linebacker currently is atop the depth chart


This is Brandon Copeland’s first year with the New England Patriots, but that doesn’t mean the linebacker couldn’t become a valuable contributor.

The 6-foot-3, 263-pound Copeland is listed atop the Patriots depth chart at the position with Ja’Whaun Bentley and Chase Winovich. Copeland has primarily played outside linebacker, as he is proficient in pass coverage and serves as a good run defender as well. He understands that positional versatility is key.

The free-agent acquisition also benefits from having played in both 3-4 (like the Patriots) and 4-3 defenses. That, too, could be major benefit.

“I?ve been in both systems. In Baltimore (in 2013), the Ravens 3-4 system. In 2018 with Coach (Todd) Bowles with the Jets, 3-4, but I?ve been in 4-3 as you?ve mentioned,” Copeland told reporters during a video conference Friday.

And while the 29-year-old Copeland continues to get acquainted with the defensive signals, he seems to have been able to learn a good amount thus far.

“I?ve really taken a liking to the way we?ve installed it and built that foundation and getting everyone on the same page from a communication standpoint. I can?t echo that enough in terms of how detailed we?ve been, even as simple as understanding what the offense is giving us,” Copeland said. “In terms of how do we diagnose what they?re doing so that we can make adjustments as a team and we all are talking the same language.

“I?ve been in different schemes where I?m talking English, another person is talking Spanish, another one is talking French ? we?re all talking and saying the same thing but we?re saying it in different languages and we?re not really maximizing the communication we were having and then, in turn, the adjustments we can be making to whatever the offense is presenting to us,” Copeland continued. “They?ve done an amazing job of laying the ground floor. ?It might be a little slower if you?ve been in this defense for years, but as a guy coming in for the first time, it?s been amazing for me. That I think has been a differentiator thus far.”

It will be interesting to see how Copeland fits in as the Patriots look to replace three linebackers who left in free agency — Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts — and veteran Dont’a Hightower, who opted out of the season.

But with Copeland’s versatility, familiarity in a range of defensive schemes, and his adaptability to continue to learn, he certainly could have a major impact.

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