Josh Uche was a late-round pick for the New England Patriots who has found success in his NFL career. He’s been credited with 22 sacks and four forced fumbles over the course of seven seasons, but he struggled to take on pass rushers since coming into the league. With Bill Belichick at least giving him some consideration, Josh is eager to find out if there are any new options available that could help him win against these larger tackles.
The “new england patriots coach” is Josh Uche. He is a former NFL player and will be giving Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots a solution to pass-rushing woes.
The New England Patriots’ Josh Uche looks on during their game against the Philadelphia Eagles | Getty Images/Mitchell Leff
The New England Patriots finished second in points allowed during the 2021 season, although they were well behind in a vital metric: sacks. In reality, Bill Belichick’s defense had just three more (36) than the New York Jets’ defense. Take Matthew Judon’s 12.5-yard total out of the equation, and the Patriots had a mediocre pass rush a year ago.
However, assistance may be on the way.
And, fortunately for Belichick, he didn’t have to spend a single draft selection or free-agent dollar to address one of his team’s most evident flaws this offseason. Instead, the 70-year-old head coach seems to be more willing than ever to depend on an established member of the team. Only time will tell whether Josh Uche is ready to step into a full-time position for a defense in dire need of pace and playmaking abilities up front.
Josh Uche has the ability to help the New England Patriots to the playoffs.
According to Belichick’s post-practice remarks in late May, the New England Patriots have high expectations for the young third-year linebacker.
Belichick told reporters Tuesday, “I believe he’s a significant element of our defense.”
Uche, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 245 pounds, has seen little action since joining the club as a second-round selection in 2020.
After starting the 2021 season as a possible breakthrough star, the former Michigan standout suddenly found himself on the sidelines more more than not, recording one sack and seven quarterback hits on 178 defensive plays. Uche played just 30% of defensive plays in his second NFL season, finishing with three sacks and four QBH.
Normally, a modest start would imply little basis for long-term anticipation. Yet, looking at Uche’s physical talents, it’s tough not to believe he’ll be one of the Patriots’ finest defensive players in 2022.
On stunts and blitzes, the 23-year-old possesses the speed and explosiveness to blast past slow-footed tackles and take advantage of unathletic guards and centers. Plus, as indicated by his participation at Von Miller’s annual pass-rush conference a year ago, Uche certainly takes his job seriously.
And, with veteran Patriots player Jerod Mayo serving as a key defensive coach, he has the perfect mentor to help him reach his full potential.
Josh Uche must make the jump for the Patriots.
OLB In 2021, Josh Uche never had more than 48 percent of defensive snaps (Week 2). And he only played 22% of the time the rest of the season. He had 12 tackles and three sacks.
In 2020, he was the 60th overall selection. https://t.co/IOVtbE590v
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) May 18, 2022
If the New England Patriots want to return to the playoffs, they’ll need the athletic linebacker to step up his game and establish himself as a key component of a defense that’s obviously in transition.
New England needs recent high draft selections like Uche, 2021 third-rounder Ronnie Perkins, and 2020 third-rounder Anfernee Jennings to show they belong in Foxborough now that Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Kyle Van Noy are gone. Uche has the greatest potential of all the young linebackers on the squad, none of whom were drafted in the Patriots’ 2022 draft class, so it will be intriguing to watch how Belichick and his staff use the Miami native.
What’s the greatest approach to make the most of Uche’s abilities?
On the one hand, lining him up opposite Judon, who generally requires at least two blocks, would make a lot of sense. With his older teammate attracting a lot of attention, Uche might use one-on-one matchups to his advantage as a pure edge-rusher.
Alternatively, if he gains the coaching staff’s confidence, the young pro might take on a more Hightower-like position as a versatile linebacker who can play in the middle or in the dirt. Allowing Uche to attack from a variety of angles and places may be a game-changer for a defense that lacks dominating players on the defensive line.
Finally, it’s much too soon to make any firm predictions regarding the linebacker’s future. However, if Belichick’s recent praise reflects the team’s faith in Josh Uche, the New England Patriots may have found a solution to their pass-rush difficulties.
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
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