Through four games it's been hard to miss Matt Judon, who's been making plays in his red sleeves since the preseason. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks and has eight quarterback hits as the free-agent signing is off to a great start on his four-year pact in New England.
Judon hasn't been a Patriot for long but is quickly developing into one of their most impactful players.
"The energy is high, we're not getting down on ourselves, we're not moping, we're not dragging our feet and our arms," said Judon on Thursday before practice. "We're getting right after it. We know what our record is but we know what we have in the locker room. We played four games... we have 13 more games, we can win all of the next 13, it's just you can't get down on yourself."
Judon was excited to get to play with new arrival Jamie Collins after studying film of the now three-time Patriot and seeing how many plays Collins made for the Pats over the years. Collins' athleticism will be a welcome addition and complement to the other linebackers, as the entire team focuses on keeping up the intensity.
"We do that in practice, we do that in meetings, we do that in film study," said Judon. "We know what needs to be done. We know who we are right now, we know our record, we know how it looks. We'll get it fixed."
This weekend, it's rookie Davis Mills making his third start who will be in Judon's crosshairs as the Patriots defense looks to put it all together in Houston.
"They're putting [Mills] in good situations for their team," said Judon. "We just gotta go out there and stop him as a defense, make it hard every down and make him have to make tight throws with tight windows."
Practice & Injury Report
The Patriots were one again missing four of their five starting offensive linemen at Thursday's practice, one that reverted back to the upper practice fields. Shaun Wade was a new absence from the 53-man roster, he missed practice due to a concussion. Kyle Van Noy also did not participate though he was present for the opening round of stretching.
Quotes of Note
Ted Karras on Mac Jones's progression:
"I think he's doing a great job, he's a guy that I want to fight for and have a lot of fun playing with. I've had a couple rookie QBs these last two years, it's interesting to see how they come in and handle it. I think he's doing a great job and I just want to hold up my end of the bargain and do whatever I can to help him and our unit be successful."