Patriots’ Matthew Judon Reveals Mindset Amid Decline In Production

Judon's looked like a different player his last six games

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The Patriots received otherwordly production from Matthew Judon through the first 12 weeks of the season. But the Pro Bowler has been a different player over the last month, and not in a good way.

Judon racked up 55 total quarterback pressures and 13 sacks in his first 12 games and was one of the best defensive players in the NFL. However, he has just six pressures and one sack in the six games since, with four of those pressures and the one sack coming in a Week 13 victory over the Buffalo Bills. You could argue Judon’s production in that game had more to do with Josh Allen making bad plays than it did Judon playing well.

In last Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Judon, perhaps needing an extended breather after dealing with COVID-19, saw just 11 defensive snaps and generated zero pressures.

So, what gives? It’s hard to put a finger on what’s led to Judon’s dip in performance. It could be opposing offenses doing more to take him out of games, or it could be Judon’s heavy workload catching up with him — or a combination of the two.

Either way, Judon is more worried about how the defense performs as a whole than he is with his own stats.

“That’s just how it goes,” the Patriots linebacker said Thursday during a video news conference. “I think, as far as being a pass-rusher, I’m still a pass-ruhser. But, you know, if a team like (the Indianapolis Colts) just comes out, runs the ball, that’s just kinda what you gotta do. You gotta stop the run. You gotta also be a run defender.

“So, it is what it is. … That’s why I’m happy I got teammates. Guys like Deatrich Wise, Christian Barmore, (Lawrence Guy), Chase (Winovich), (Josh Uche), (Don’t Hightower). … I wanna be that guy, I wanna be the guy that everybody looks upon. But, sometimes, I might get blocked (differently) and then other guys step up. And I love what they do and I celebrate and enjoy (their) success as much as they celebrate and enjoy my success. So, I’m not gonna watch stats.”

Judon wasn’t joking when he said he’s “not gonna watch stats.” In fact, when told by reporter Andrew Callahan about his recent lack of quarterback pressures, Judon sounded legitimately surprised.

Take a look:

Ultimately, it’s important for the Patriots to get the best version of Judon as they get ready for the playoffs. New England’s defense is at its most dangerous when he and Barmore are playing off of each other and rushing quarterbacks from both the middle and the edge.

Judon doesn’t need to get sacks, but he does need to generate real, impactful pressure to make life difficult for quarterbacks and easier for New England’s secondary.

The Patriots will look to finish the regular season on a high note this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

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