Why Patriots’ Josh Uche Was Compared To Von Miller By Pro Bowler

Uche has seven sacks in his last five games


December 7, 2022

Josh Uche’s strip-sack against the Buffalo Bills caught the attention of one of the NFL’s best edge rushers.

In his “Cam’s Corner” film breakdown for The 33rd Team, New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said he saw shades of Von Miller in Uche’s takedown of Josh Allen last Thursday.

“Matt Judon has spoken highly about this guy, and there’s a reason why,” said Jordan, a seven-time Pro Bowler. “Josh Uche got that sauce now. He’s coming off the edge, and I mean, they were playing the Bills, but he looked like Von Miller from the Bills with that patented ghost (move) that he has. I mean, Josh Uche gets off the ball and he’s blazing off the line. He’s able to dip his inside shoulder below the left tackle’s targeted punch. Uche’s too fast, too athletic. He’s able to slip underneath, eliminate that space, and then he brings it back up with a rip for a big sack, forced fumble to help his D-line get it. …

“(The Patriots) don’t get the win, but plays like that can be game-changers.”

Miller is one of the premier pass rushers of his era, so any comparison to him is extremely high praise. And while it should be noted that Uche was facing Buffalo’s backup left tackle on the play Jordan spotlighted, he’s finally beginning to provide the type of production that Patriots fans have longed for.

Uche racked up seven sacks over New England?s last five games, including two against Allen last week. That’s not just a career high for the 2020 second-round draft pick — it’s nearly double his previous career total. Uche recorded just four sacks over his first 26 games with the Patriots as he battled injuries and struggled to gain a foothold in what was a veteran-laden linebacking corps.

From Week 3 of last season through Week 5 of this season, Uche appeared in 14 games, logged 275 defensive snaps and totaled zero sacks, zero tackles for loss and one quarterback hit. Then, he missed two games with a hamstring injury and has looked like a different player since his return.

Uche’s Pro Football Focus grade entering Week 14 is tied for seventh-best among NFL edge defenders — with, coincidentally, Miller.

“He can be a premier pass rusher,” Judon, the NFL’s sack leader this season, said last month. “I always tell him, he?s probably the best pass rusher we’ve got.”

Head coach Bill Belichick said health has been the greatest asset this season for the 24-year-old Michigan product, who also serves an important role as the signal-caller in New England’s third-down package.

“I think the biggest thing for Josh this year has just really been his availability,” Belichick said Wednesday in a video conference. “Josh is a good athlete, and he has good speed off the edge and good pass-rush techniques, but you build that through timing, consistency, running games with your teammates and so forth.

And he’s done that since he’s been here, but this year, he’s been able to do it on a more consistent basis in practice and training camp and really build that continuity as opposed to being in and out of things and sometimes not fully being available for some of the roles that this year, he’s really been available for on almost a daily basis. So I think that’s helped him as much as anything.”

The Patriots’ defense ranks among the NFL’s best in most metrics, but it’ll be looking to rebound from back-to-back subpar performances when New England visits the Arizona Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.”

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Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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