Patriots

Matt Judon: Patriots defense ‘not scared’ of what Tom Brady can do

Judon added Brady is "a great quarterback" but said the Patriots' only focus can be "to stop him from winning the game."

Matthew Judon Patriots Tom Brady
Matthew Judon. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
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Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon absolutely believes this Sunday’s game is the biggest game of the season. Just not for the reasons you think.

“Because it’s the next game,” he said when asked about the matchup’s importance.

Yes, Judon, like everyone else remotely involved with the NFL, knows Tom Brady is returning to Foxborough to face the team he won six Super Bowls with for the first time as an opponent in his career.

The Patriots’ edge rusher just made it clear he’s not making it a bigger deal than it is.

“He’s the next quarterback we’ve got to play,” he said of Brady. “I know he was in this building for a long time, and what he’s done can never be taken away from the game of football. But it’s not like we’re afraid of what Tom Brady can do. We have to stop their whole offense.”

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To be sure, that offense — especially from a passing standpoint — goes well beyond Brady alone.

The Buccaneers boast a very talented receiving corps that includes star receivers Mike Evans and Antonio Brown, a solid young wideout in Chris Godwin, and the ever-dominant tight end Rob Gronkowski, who also makes his anticipated Patriots return (assuming his rib injury doesn’t keep him out).

But the offense (and the storylines) always begin with Brady, now almost universally thought of as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

Still, while Judon acknowledged Brady is “a great quarterback,” the Patriots defender wasn’t ready to wax poetic about him.

“We’re not here to talk about that right now,” Judon said. “We have to play the game. We have to stop him from winning the game.”

Judon, who came over in free agency from the Ravens this offseason, has been the defense’s best player through three games. He leads the team in sacks (4) and total pressures (14) and also ranks second in the league among edge rushers in Pro Football Focus’s aggregated pass-rushing productivity metric.

He also has had no qualms about taking digs at Brady in the past, saying the former Patriots passer is the toughest quarterback in the NFL to sack because he “intentionally grounds the ball every time” Judon gets close.

On that note, the one-time Baltimore Raven said he finds trash-talking Brady fun even if it’s “not cordial,” as he describes it.

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When asked if he’ll talk trash to Brady on the field Sunday night, Judon added, “I talk trash all the time.” So, take that as a likely “yes.”

The Patriots outside linebacker has backed up all that trash talk this year with a big performance thus far and has spearheaded a defense that, while not as good as it was in 2019, is far more resilient than it was last season.

Judon and his teammates will need every bit of that toughness on Sunday if they want to keep up with a motivated Brady.

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