Julian Edelman isn’t just a wide receiver anymore.
Edelman, who’s listed at receiver but has been spending time in the Patriots’ secondary this season, has to be considered a real defensive player now that he’s laid his first hard hit on an opposing quarterback. Edelman got a couple of good shots on Eagles quarterback Vince Young on Sunday, tackling Young on a running play and later planting Young into the turf just as Young released a pass.
After the game, Edelman said taking Young to the ground was a lot of fun, but he needs to be careful about it, what with all the NFL rules protecting offensive players.
“Yeah, any time we can get a rush on the quarterback and force him to get the ball out and have our guys make the play, it feels good. And we got off the field, so that play was good,” Edelman told the Boston Herald. “It’s funny because with all the rules floating around with regards to quarterbacks, I wanted to hit him but do it right. I just did not want to get any kind of penalty and hit him in the right zone.”
Edelman played 16 snaps, primarily covering the slot receiver, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick continues to show (as he did with Troy Brown) that if you’ve got a guy who can play slot receiver, it’s not a stretch to teach him to cover the slot receiver, too. Belichick praised Edelman after the game in Philadelphia.
“Julian’s worked hard on that,” Belichick said. “He’s had to keep up with what’s going on on offense and also in the kicking game, but he’s worked hard. He’s spent a lot of extra time with [Patriots defensive backs coach] Josh Boyer and kind of splitting time between meetings between offense and defense, and of course he does all the special teams stuff too. He’s worked hard and he’s really been a huge help for us.”
That’s the kind of player Belichick loves.