New Patriots LB Victor Hobson has somewhat flown under the radar since joining the club last month. Hobson, who is working out in the team's offseason program, was the subject of a story in last week's Boston Globe.
Here is a bit more from Hobson, in Q&A style, from that interview:
You end up with the New England Patriots after five years with the Jets. Explain how that went down.
“The whole free agency process, it played itself out. I was waiting around, working out, making sure I was in shape through that whole period, just being with my family, seeing which teams were interested, which teams were serious, and which ones were just trying to feel their way around. It ended up that New England, they called, I talked to Coach Belichick and Scott [Pioli] and when I took a visit here, I felt at home.”
What other options/places were on the radar?
“There were other teams. I really wasn’t for naming the other teams before, but Arizona, and different teams showed interest. But it was just a matter of where I was going to feel comfortable. Being that I’m still on the East Coast, and I’m from the East Coast – born and raised – New England seemed like the perfect fit.”
No visits to other clubs?
“I didn’t. There was a lot more discussion than anything. New England was my first visit, and only visit.”
What was it like as a player when it was Patriots week? Did you find it was different?
“Yeah, a lot more uptight. It was a big game. The media is going to make sure you know it, the coaches are going to make sure you know it, and you have to make sure you know it yourself. It’s a big game, you can’t take anything away from that. At the same time, it’s our job to go out and perform and play.”
What are some of your first impressions of being in New England?
"I’m still in the getting-to-know-everybody phase. People are still coming back in and out. It’s good. It’s definitely a family-type atmosphere with the players. Everybody seems to be close and really enjoys working with each other, which is great to see, and great to be around. I’m still feeling my way around. Each day, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the guys. It’s good. I definitely don’t have any complaints at all.”
Any initial thoughts on the Patriots' defense?
“It's an intricate system, where everybody has to know what everybody else is doing. It involves a lot of thinking, which means everyone on the field has to be smart, has to be vocal, and has to be able to trust the person next to them to be able to do their job. That’s part of the system I like. That creates that family type of atmosphere throughout the defense and throughout the team.”
You played outside linebacker the last two years in the Jets' 3-4 scheme. It sounds like you'll be working more at inside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme. Anyone specific that you’ve enjoyed watching on tape at inside linebacker?
“Going back into the past, guys like Teddy Johnson, he used to just crush the guards and whoever tried to block him. Watching [Tedy] Bruschi when I was younger, first coming into the league, watching the way he’s able to think on the field. People always say, he’s getting up there in age, but it’s not always about that. If you can think on the field, you’re able to continue playing and make plays like he has.”
How would you explain the difference between playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 and playing inside linebacker in the 3-4?
“There is a big difference. Given the system that I’ve been involved with the last couple years, the 3-4 system, outside and inside roles are very different. It’s just two different styles of play. On the outside, you’re going against an offensive tackle or tight end every play. So it’s almost like you’re a glorified defensive lineman. At the same time, you have to be able to pass rush, and defend the pass – sometimes you have to be able to drop and stand out there with a receiver. Outside linebacker is an interesting position in the system. The inside linebacker, from the outside looking in, they’re the guy that people look at and say ‘that’s just a linebacker, a typical linebacker – a guy who can go and hit the guard or blitz, or make this play.’”
From a big-picture standpoint, you’re entering your sixth year in the league and you’re on a one-year deal here. How do you balance the idea that you’re giving all you have to the Patriots, while also looking at the future?
“Given that it is a one-year deal, I think it’s a big opportunity for me to build and display what I’m able to do, and at the same time, an opportunity for the coaching staff here and management to see what I’m able to do, to actually analyze – ‘he can do this, he can do that, he can’t do that.’ I think it’s a great opportunity for us. It is going into my sixth year, and coming off last year, I don’t feel I was really as productive as I could have been at all actually. I’m looking forward to proving myself this year.”
Past games with the Jets here, what stands out to you? There have been some great ones in recent years.
“Very dynamic. You have to pay attention to detail. They’re good at what they do, and they do a lot of things. A lot of teams will be good at what they do, but they only do a couple things, so it’s easier to be good at those couple of things. When you take a team that is good at everything they do – and they’ve been together for a long time, it seems like they’ve been together forever – it’s hard to prepare for, it’s hard to play against.”
There was one game where both teams were shuttling guys in and out. It was like a chess match. …
“We had to. It’s almost like everybody has to be on top of everything. You have to pay attention to every little detail – ‘all right, this guy is going in, this guy is going out’ – otherwise you get left behind.”
You signed here, and then on draft day, the Patriots added three linebackers – one in the first round, one in the third round, one in the sixth round. What were your thoughts on that?
“I’m a very observant person, so even when I signed here, it was one of those things where it was a one-year deal, so I expected them to go and get a linebacker in the draft. From the business side of it, they would be doubted if they didn’t. You guys would be looking at them like ‘why didn’t you?’ You can only look at me and say ‘you can put him inside but he hasn’t proven himself.’ So there is a ‘what if?’ From a business standpoint, I understand that. Competition is good.”