Did trading Jamie Collins help the Patriots defense?

We all remember Jamie Collins, right? Well, while he enjoys his time with the 0-13 Cleveland Browns, we should take a second to realize that the Patriots defense is doing just fine without him. Since trading Collins during their week 9 bye, only a 31-24 loss to Seattle has stood out as a bad defensive performance. And it was bad. Allowing 348 yards and 3 touchdowns to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. That is no moral victory. Combine that with the reality that this was the first game without Jamie Collins? We’ve got some panic in the northeast.

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I know that doubting Bill Belichick is 100% bananas. But at this point, it was 1000% bananas to trade away arguably your best defensive player in his contract year for basically nothing. Oh, right, for a compensatory draft pick. Which Belichick will probably turn into a hall of famer. But in reality, it was unexpected and shocking to see a guy like Collins get traded in the middle of the season.

But since that dreadful Seattle loss, the defense has been pretty good. As of week 15, they rank 3rd in points allowed giving up just over 17 per game. And even though Collins was a turnover machine, there really hasn’t been a drop in turnover differential since he was traded. Well then, what about the explosive play factor in general? Remember when Jamie Collins jumped over the Colts blockers and blocked an extra point? Well, Shea McClellin did that on Monday night against Baltimore. He jumped over the Ravens line and blocked a Justin Tucker field goal attempt. Who is Shea McClellin? Uhh… He plays for the Patriots and can jump over people. That’s all I know. So maybe the “explosive plays” that Collins brought every Sunday are just plays an average NFL player can make.

I still am not completely sure why Belichick went through with this trade, but my guess is it had to do with Collins freelancing in the field. Instead of following through with the play, Collins got cocky and wanted to see if he could make a play by charging at the quarterback or doing something else not called for. The best evidence you could grab from this was his final game as a Patriot. On the opening drive week 8 against Buffalo he obviously was not where he was supposed to be. It cost him. The play would go for a 25-yard run and Collins would barely see the field the rest of the way. I’m sure this was not his first time getting burned by freelancing. And it drove Belichick to trade him to arguably the worst team in the history of pro sports.

So how does Collins gambling on a few plays and losing make it a good trade for New England? We may never know, but think about this; would you like to see Collins freelancing in the Super Bowl? I mean, that’s the biggest stage maybe in all of sports. You know Collins would take a few risks here and there. But I think Bill Belichick made it very clear that he is not risking a Super Bowl over the gamble of one player. And I would agree with him in that outlook.


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