Don’t expect New England Patriots pass rusher and star Matthew Judon to get caught admiring the talents or presence of Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday when his team opens the 2022 season against their AFC East rivals.
Judon was asked by a reporter what aspects of the Dolphins’ young QB’s game he admired. The veteran seemed slightly taken aback by the question.
“I don’t really gotta admire his game,” Judon said. “I just gotta face him. He’s an opponent. You’ve got to respect everybody you play, that’s the league we play in. You respect everybody. But I don’t really got praise for him. He’s a good quarterback, fits their system. He’s a starter in this league.”
Here is a look at the segment with the media, per Patriots Press Pass.
Perhaps if the subject of the question of admiration was a more established and accomplished player than Tagovailoa, Judon might have had something different to say.
In two seasons in the NFL, Tagovailoa hasn’t eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark, nor has he led the Dolphins to the postseason. He has amassed a decent but unspectacular QB record of 13-8 while missing 10 games. That’s not usually the resume of a QB a veteran like Judon would admire.
Judon added more context and an explanation later in his response. Still, he reiterates his uncomfortableness with the word “admire” for an opponent.
“I think my mind for my opponents is more respect. I think ‘admire’ is kind of a crazy word to use for an opponent,” Judon added. “But I respect everybody in this league. You know, from the long snapper to the quarterback. Whoever is getting paid the most, whoever is getting paid the least, we all are one of the 53 (on a team). Admire? I watch film on him, I respect him, I understand what he can do. But I don’t really — the definition of ‘admire’ — I just don’t admire Tua. He’s a good quarterback, though.”
Judon’s point of view is understandable. Players who get caught admiring an opponent are potentially vulnerable to being bested by them.
Are the Patriots’ Defense/Special Teams A Good Pick vs. the Dolphins in Fantasy Football?
The quick answer to this question is probably not. However, there are some reasons to feel decently about the Patriots’ chances of doing well against the Dolphins’ offense.
Tagovailoa hasn’t been a particularly prolific passer during his career. While he hasn’t been interception prone, he has been picked off 15 times in 23 games. That includes two interceptions against the Patriots. When you also factor in the potential of Nick Folk racking up points with field goals and perhaps an explosive return from rookie Marcus Jones–if given the opportunity–New England’s DEF/ST unit could surprise.
However, with the Patriots’ cornerback position being its most faulty–at least on paper–and the Dolphins bringing weapons like Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson and tight end Mike Gesicki, it m makes more sense to avoid using the New England for this slot on your fantasy team.
Patriots Ty Montgomery: Fantasy Outlook Week 1 Vs. Miami Dolphins
One player to watch from a fantasy standpoint is RB/WR Ty Montgomery. The veteran hybrid player suffered an injury in the Patriots’ final preseason game and hadn’t practiced since, but he returned to practice on Wednesday.
He was limited, but it is unclear how much he will be involved in the action against the Dolphins. He flashed some playmaking ability in training camp and the preseason, but the injury could make him a risky pick in Week 1.
If he’s ready to go, his fantasy value could be similar to what James White has provided in the passing-back role in New England the past few years. For reference, White averaged under 7 fantasy points per full game since 2019, per Fantasy Data.