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Meet the new guy … A.J. Edds

09.14.11 at 3:50 pm ET
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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.

‘€œYeah, 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.

‘€œBut 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.

‘€œ(There was) a little bit, but I think that stuff can kind of be overrated,’€ he said of pregame talk involving his old team. ‘€œObviously, 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.

‘€œJust 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.

‘€œIt 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. ‘€œI’€™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.’€

‘€œ[He] played outside linebacker at Iowa, went down to Miami last year and played inside linebacker,’€ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘€œ[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 ‘€œabsolutely’€ 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.)

‘€œI 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. ‘€œYou 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.’€

Read More: A.J. Edds, Bill Belichick, Kirk Ferentz,
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