The Patriots have a lot of unknowns on the defensive side of the ball after parting ways with a number of veterans this offseason and one of them is how linebacker Josh Uche will do with an uptick in playing time.
Uche has been limited to 21 games and 414 defensive snaps over his first two seasons, but the team thought enough of him to make him a second-round pick in 2020 and he hasn’t lost the favor of the coaching staff. Outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick suggested Uche is on track for a more sizable role in his third NFL season.
“I see him as part of the, since it’s the hot word right now, part of the blueprint. I see him being an important piece to the puzzle for us going forward,” Belichick said, via WEEI.com. “There’s a lot of factors to it besides what he’s going to do. We have to see what everybody else does and work the pieces around from there. I see Josh being a big part of this defense. We’ll see how the competition plays out. Josh is another guy who’s doing everything right, who’s putting a lot of hard work in, setting up as well as he could to help us out on the field once we get to camp. It’s all just a building process. He’s done everything right so far.”
Uche, Ronnie Perkins, Cameron McGrone, and Anfernee Jennings were all drafted in either 2020 or 2021 and have yet to make a serious impression on the field in New England. That will likely have to change for the defense to move ahead of where it was last year.