Meet the new guy … A.J. Edds
|09.14.11 at 3:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — This Monday was something of a surreal experience for new Patriots linebacker A.J. Edds: The Iowa product, who was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round in 2010 but never played a game for them because of a knee injury, returned to Miami for the first time since he was cut earlier this month by the Dolphins.
‘Yeah, it was definitely an interesting first crack it out there with the Patriots, but obviously great to get the first win, a good team victory,’ said the 6-foot-4, 244-pounder, who was claimed off waivers by the Patriots on Sept. 6.
‘But definitely, it was almost surreal heading back there, going into the visitors’ locker room, those kinds of things. But that’s the business we’re in. You have to take things as they come, and some of those things are out of your control a little bit and you have to make the most of it when you have your opportunities.’
The linebacker, who did not play in the regular-season opener against the Dolphins, spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve after tearing the ACL in his right knee during training camp. This summer, the 23-year-old had a good preseason — he led the Dolphins in tackles this preseason with 18 (with one sack) — but was cut loose by Miami.
Being that he was picked up only days before the Dolphins game, it wasn’t surprising to Edds that he found himself the focus of a few conversations with his new teammates prior to the game in hopes of finding out more about Miami.
‘(There was) a little bit, but I think that stuff can kind of be overrated,’ he said of pregame talk involving his old team. ‘Obviously, Miami knew I was up here, so they’re probably going to change some stuff up, but there were a few times when guys came to be and asked … moreso for personnel than anything else.
‘Just some matchup stuff: ‘What’s this guy going to play like? What’s his MO?’ Techniques, responsibilities, that kind of thing. Not, I wouldn’t say, overly ‘What’s the playbook?’ kind of stuff, but when there was some questions, I was able to answer them.’
Going forward, Edds figures to compete for a role as an inside/middle linebacker and on special teams. He says his label as someone who excels as a third-down specialist in pass coverage might be a bit overblown because of what he showed as a senior at Iowa, but he quickly added that he does have other strengths.
‘It was kind of stuff I did in college: playing over tight ends, being able to play in space, being able to turn and run. Those kinds of things,’ he said. ‘I’m just trying to work that out and see where that is. I’ve only been here for a week. Just trying to find my niche a little bit and get into it and hit the ground running.’
‘[He] played outside linebacker at Iowa, went down to Miami last year and played inside linebacker,’ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘[He] looked like he was having a pretty good training camp, pretty good preseason, injured his knee, missed the year and then came back this year and played inside linebacker down there so I think he has a little bit of inside-outside flexibility, kicking game, has long snapped.’
One of the things that helps him out is the fact that he says there are ‘absolutely’ similarities to the system that he was a part of at Iowa and what the Patriots run. (Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is a former Belichick assistant.)
‘I haven’t been exposed to the wide range of everything that goes on yet, but from what I have been here for, in the quick week, it’s been a lot of carryover, a lot of similarities, which helps the transition. It definitely does,’ said Edds. ‘You know, terminology and those kind of things, things that are the same to what you’ve seen in the past, it always makes it a little bit easier, mentally and physically, because you don’t have to think as much.’