fter the New England Patriots in Week 9, you would expect the defense to be the talk of the town but Bill Belichick wanted to shine the spotlight on another area of the game.
The Patriots defense dominated recording nine sacks. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger was left hopeless during the game and struggled throughout. Josh Uche and Matthew Judon combined for six sacks on the day per Pro Football Reference.
But New England’s special teams unit also had a fantastic game with Nick Folk continuing to nail field goals at an epic rate and the Patriots also blocked a punt. Jonathan Jones got his hands on the ball during the block and rookie Brenden Schooler recovered the ball.
Schooler’s seven solo special teams tackles are tied for second-most in the NFL this season, and the Patriots rookie only trails Tennessee’s Hassan Haskins (eight). Legendary Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater had some high praise for Schooler.
“We really needed a guy that would be able to step up and be an impact player,” Slater told NESN.com after the Week 9 game. “(Schooler) has been doing that, and he’s not playing like a rookie, let me tell you that. He’s playing like he’s been doing this for a long time, and we’re really fortunate to have him. He’s giving us a boost right now. … Schools is doing a great job right now, and we’re going to keep riding him.”
With Slater nearing the end of his career, New England might have his replacement in Schooler. The undrafted rookie could become the next special team specialist to etch out a long-term role with the Patriots.
What Did Bill Belichick Have to Say About Schooler’s Performance?
After the Patriots Week 9 win, the Patriots head coach took some time to talk about just how well Schooler has been performing on the field.
“Schools is an instinctive kid,” Belichick said in a video conference. “He picks things up quickly, and he’s played multiple positions for us in the kicking game, on both the coverage and the return units. So that’s been valuable for us, and it’s been good experiences for him. … He’s a pretty versatile player and a smart kid.
“I guess that’s a compliment in a way to recognizing his production,” the Patriots head coach added.
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