Why Henry Anderson ‘Always Felt’ Patriots’ Defense Was Good Fit

Anderson should help the Patriots run defense

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Six years into his NFL career, defensive lineman Henry Anderson finally landed with the New England Patriots, a team he’s long admired from afar.

Anderson, who was cut by the New York Jets on March 2 and signed with the Patriots on Friday, has always believed New England would be a good fit for his style of play as a 6-foot-6, 300-pound defender.

“Their base is a 3-4, which I’ve been comfortable in and that’s what I’ve played my entire career and all throughout college that’s the scheme that I was in,” Anderson said Monday on a video conference call. “So, I’m comfortable in a 3-4. And then just throughout my career, I’ve been asked to do a lot of different things across the line of scrimmage. I think I should fit well in the scheme. Coach (Bill) Belichick is one of the great defensive coaches and defensive minds in the history of the league, so it’s a great chance to play for a coach like that and continue to learn and continue to improve my game.”

Anderson, who entered the NFL as an Indianapolis Colts third-round pick out of Stanford in 2015, has lined up out wide at nine-technique defensive end and head up on the center as a nose tackle. He’s been a strong run defender throughout his NFL career and excelled as a pass rusher in 2018 with the Jets when he registered eight sacks, nine QB hits and 31 pressures, per PFF.

“I’ve admired that defense for a while,” Anderson said. “It’s always a fun defense to watch. They do a lot of different things on film. A lot of smart guys that are able to handle a lot of different roles and do what they’re asked to do.

“I’ve always felt that’s a defense that I would fit well in. I’ll let the coaching staff figure out … what the role is going to be. I’m looking forward to getting started and earning a spot on the defense and help this defense and help this team win.”

The Patriots ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA metric in 2020. They added Anderson, Montravius Adams and Davon Godchaux on their defensive line and Matthew Judon, Raekwon McMillan and Kyle Van Noy at linebacker in free agency so far. They lost defensive tackle Adam Butler to the Miami Dolphins and have not yet re-signed defensive tackle Lawrence Guy or outside linebackers John Simon or Shilique Calhoun in free agency.

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