Sack totals don’t always represent a team’s ability to get to the quarterback. Pass-rushers can impact a play without actually taking the quarterback down.
In that way, the Patriots did a decent job last season creating pressure and bringing the heat. Statistically, between sacks (24), hits, or hurries on dropbacks by the quarterback, they had the fifth-best percentage (26.4) of any NFL team during the regular season.
But let’s cut to the chase: if Bill Belichick hands over the most money he ever has for a defensive player — namely elite pass-rusher Matt Judon — he must have felt the Patriots’ anemic sack totals last season held significant meaning and didn’t bode well for the future.
Being down at the bottom of the league in terms of making the bigger plays, scoring those sacks, was an issue going forward.
Judon’s four-year, $56 million deal ($32 million guaranteed) essentially spoke to Belichick’s desire to not only get to the quarterback, but bring him down. It spoke to his desire to have a player opposing offensive coordinators actually have to worry about on every pass attempt.
The Bills, Dolphins, Bucs, et al, are all going to sweat stopping Judon.
Naturally, it falls on Judon to deliver, and live up to the expectations created with such a contract.
During his availability Thursday following the Patriots training camp practice, Judon shrugged off the notion of being under more pressure to perform given all the…