FOXBORO, Mass. — Good luck finding a Patriots player less caught up in the Tom Brady hype than Matt Judon.
The New England linebacker, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens as a Patriots rival, was asked Thursday about the looming Foxboro returns of Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
“I didn’t play with those guys,” he said. “They always been an opponent of mine.”
Judon added: “The hype or the magnitude surrounding the game, that’s really not for me to say anything about. … We’re more focussed on our game plan. We’re not really talking so much about what the quarterback’s gonna do, and how he’s gonna do it.”
Yes, that sounds like Patriots-speak — and it was. Most of New England’s players have shared similar sentiments ahead of their Sunday night matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But when asked again about Brady, Judon laughed, with a tone of frustration, and offered the following:
“Bro, he’s the next quarterback we gotta play. They also got two other quarterbacks on the roster. I know he was in this building for a long time and what he’s done can never be taken away from the game of football and what he did. But it’s not like we’re afraid of what Tom Brady can do. We have to stop their whole offense. We gotta stop (Ronald Jones), we gotta stop Leonard Fournette, we gotta stop Mike Evans, we gotta stop Gronk. … We gotta defeat all the blockers up front. And then also have to play complementary football on offense and special teams.
“Tom Brady is a great quarterback and nobody can take away what he did. But that’s not, I mean, we’re not here to talk about that right now. We have to play the game. And we have to stop him from winning the football game.”
Judon then was asked a question we all know the answer to: Is there too much Brady chatter this week?
“I don’t know, man,” Judon said. “I always just played against the guy. It’s always been one week for me. Y’all (reporters) been here and y’all have spoken to the guy and y’all gave him his flowers and everything he’s done for this game and this city and this organization. But it’s only been — since I’ve been in the league — it’s only been one week for me.
“It’s only been, ‘All right, we have to play the New England Patriots, and this is what Brady does well, and this is how we have to defend him.’ And, so, this week it’s the same. I’m just in a different uniform and he’s in a different uniform.”
Judon had success against Brady during his days in Baltimore. Expect him to pin his ears back and get after the 44-year-old when he gets an opportunity.
“Not like he got a bubble around him.,” Judon said of Brady. “Beat the block, get to the quarterback.”
Should he eventually sack the greatest player in NFL history, you can bet Judon will ensure Brady hears about it.
“I talk trash all the time. That’s why I wear that little thin mouthpiece so you can hear everything I say.”