Who dares to question the decisions of Bill Belichick?
Well, lots of people these days. That’s what a 9-12 record since Tom Brady left town will do to a coach–even one as legendary as Belichick. Recently, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine pointed out three players Belichick desperately needs to play more and one of them is second-year pass rusher Josh Uche.
Bill Belichick Should Be Playing Josh Uche More, Says NFL Analyst
The New England Patriots selected Josh Uche in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent much of his rookie season sidelined with nagging injuries. Uche played in just 9 games last year. The injury bug has bitten him a few times this year as well, which has resulted in him missing a game. However, when he’s been on the field, Uche has been effective.
He had what seemed like a standout training camp but his current role is so specialized, some are wondering if he’s being held back too much.
According to Ballentine, Uche needs to be allowed to “take his lumps against the run” while energizing the Patriots’ pass rush.
It’s still a small sample size, but right now, Josh Uche’s three sacks represent 23 percent of the team’s total. Through five weeks of the season, he has been on the field for just 29.1 percent of the defensive snaps. That’s an equation that just doesn’t make sense. The second-year player out of Michigan has showcased the ability to win one-on-one pass-rush reps with regularity. He started the season by simply bulldozing Miami Dolphins left tackle Austin Jackson on the way to a sack and followed it up the next week by sacking Zach Wilson twice. Yet, he only played 14 snaps against the Texans. As a rookie, Uche posted the second-highest pass-rushing grade among first-year players, according to Pro Football Focus. He is again producing as a quarterback hunter, but the team needs to let him take his lumps as a run defender to get the most out of his development.
Uche might be such a dynamic playmaker with his speed on defense, he could be the kind of presence that helps to create scoring opportunities for a team that is struggling to put points on the board. New England currently ranks 26th in the NFL in scoring.
It’s Also Time to Unleash Rhamondre Stevenson
Uche isn’t the only young Patriots player who might be in the need of more playing time. After having a stellar preseason that saw him lead the NFL in rushing yards during the exhibitions, Rhamondre Stevenson sightings have been rare.
The rookie got demoted and was inactive for a couple games after a rough debut in Week 1 vs. the Miami Dolphins. Stevenson fumbled and looked overwhelmed in pass-blocking situations. Stevenson was able to get back on the field in Week 5 vs. the Houston Texans. He had 11 rushes for just 23 yards, but Stevenson has some undeniable skills.
He’s a big, physical runner with great feet and soft hands. With Damien Harris’ status for Week 6 unclear, it’s time for Belichick lean back into Stevenson against the Dallas Cowboys.
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