Is Jamie Collins Patriots' best defensive player this season?


FOXBOROUGH -- While Stephon Gilmore might have a thing or two to say about it, Jamie Collins is making a case for himself being the Patriots' best defensive player so far in 2019.

Through three games, Collins has 19 tackles, five tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown. He is the only player in the NFL to have at least two sacks and two interceptions this season.

Against the Jets, he finished with six tackles and two sacks in the 30-14 win.

“Like I said, I have 10 other great guys out there," Collins said. "It’s not just me out there and all those guys can make play. They make my job easy.”

The linebacker is certainly making the most of his second stint with the team after re-signing this offseason following a few years in Cleveland. Collins has been all over the field in the first three games, showing off his athleticism in a variety of ways.

“Jamie’s a good football player,” Bill Belichick said following the win over the Jets. “We have a lot of good players on defense, but yeah, Jamie’s been a very productive player for us. He’s very smart, very instinctive, sees things extremely well. Can take the practice and preparation reps in the film room to the field and do the right thing and do it very quickly and decisively out there. Yeah, I’m glad we have him. He’s done a great job for us.”

While most of his teammates say not much has changed from his first stint with the team, it's clear some things have.

“He’s a man now,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “He’s got a family. It’s not just Jamie anymore. He represents a lot of people: his wife, his little guy. And I think when you have family, it changes your perspective in life a lot of times. Those of us who’ve had family know that. I think it’s been a really good change for him.

“Jamie and I have always had a great relationship, but it’s really cool to see a guy come in as a kid and now be a man. I think that’s the thing that I enjoy most. He’s always been a great football player. So, that hasn’t changed. But it’s great to see him serve in that role of husband and father.”It's hard to imagine Collins continuing this pace all year long, but if he does, he's looking at a historic season and no question being one of the best linebackers in the entire league.