Versatility should help Collins in coverage

Versatility should help Collins in coverage
July 30, 2013, 11:30 am
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FOXBORO – The versatility of rookie Jamie Collins has Pepper Johnson gushing.

Collins, the second-rounder from Southern Miss., went to college as a safety, bulked up to play defensive end and, since the start of camp, has been running at outside linebacker.

What does Johnson, the Patriots linebackers coach, like about Collins utility?

“Not to turn a Jamie Collins story into a Pepper Johnson story, but the same thing helped me play and adjust from playing so many different positions in high school,” Johnson said. “(After high school) when I’m playing outside linebacker I understand how a tight end is trying to block me. I played offensive tackle and offensive guard and I understood if I took the wrong step how they could take advantage of me. That was a blessing for me.

“Jamie understands how to play the deep ball because he played safety so I’m expecting big things when a back runs a wheel route on him,” Johnson said. “It’s stuff like that that’s a plus for us and a plus for him. He has seen the game in so many different views that he understands it a lot better. I just have to figure out how to explain certain things to get it across, but once he gets a grasp on it, he’s functional. He can go out and do it.”

With Collins getting plenty of reps with the first group, it appears the Pats are giving him every chance to do it sooner rather than later.