Patriots could have a special weapon on their sideline in Joe Judge

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Judge will be an invaluable resource for cam chordthe man who coached alongside him and succeeded him at Foxborough, due to Judge’s attention to detail and his ability to identify weak spots.

Judge keeps abreast of special teams trends and is passionate about this phase of the game. In February, the NFL Competition Committee said it would seek input from coaches on ways to reduce the number of injuries sustained during punt returns.

The judge, who said ‘nothing is more important than the health and safety of the players’, participated in meetings where coaches worked to identify common denominators associated with injuries during comebacks, and body position stood out.

“The majority of ACL injuries, in particular, occurred when the ligaments were stretched outside the body,” Judge said. “So if you can imagine someone with just a wide base really outside of each other, almost that kind of baby deer position, if you will.

“We have been working on the technique here for years. We call it the scallop, and the scallop is really just a vertical mix where you play at full speed at game speed. We state that game speed is the speed needed to play in space and to be able to adapt to the short space, to follow the movement and to make a blow.

“We always use the example of the bull and the matador, don’t we? The bull goes 100 miles an hour, the matador stays still, he moves away, the bull flies right by. So you need to be more controlled to hit something and not just go full speed ahead.

“So we use [the scallop] on really the three phases, but mostly on defense and in the kicking game for our defenders and our guys covering the kicks to adjust and go and strike.

Another area of ​​focus, according to Judge, is teaching players to play under control, with proper technique and within the rules.

“You look at a lot of injury majority, really, in any phase, and that happens when someone is overextended,” he said. “When you see a guy running full speed down the pitch and he’s overloaded, that’s really when he can’t plant and redirect.

“And a lot of that comes from the blocks in the back, and really, more specifically, from that low hip contact that pushes the runner’s hips forward and they can’t fiddle with their feet to decelerate and then change direction .

“So really, in playing in the techniques, the safety comes from how we teach the fundamental techniques, and also how we teach the technique of the game and the task, not to get a penalty, the No. 1 is to play it safer there.

The judge said coaches, especially those who teach special teams, constantly have to make adjustments because the rules often change, including those that removed the trap, the blindside and some cutting blocks. He agrees with any adjustment that is intended to protect players from injury.

“I can tell you that from a training point of view, I don’t care what [phase] you train, my attitude has always been, ‘Just tell me the rules and we’ll train within them, okay?’ he said. “We’re going to do things for our players to play safe and play aggressively, but just tell me the rules and we’ll train within them.”

Just ask him

Ty Montgomery really wanted to play for a Bill Belichick-coached team, so when the Patriots reached out this offseason, he wasn’t about to turn them down.

The eight-year veteran, who signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract with $300,000 guaranteed in March, provides depth at running back and receiver as well as in the return game. He wasn’t about to lend a hand as to where he’ll fit best on offense.

“I consider myself the No. 14 employee of the New England Patriots, and I will do whatever is asked of me,” he said Thursday.

Montgomery, who has 1,180 rushing yards and 1,104 receiving yards in his career, said he spoke to a group of former Patriots about playing here, including Chris Hoganwith whom he was a teammate in New Orleans last season, and has consistently received favorable reviews.

He could create a special teams niche for a unit that has lost key veterans Brandon Bolde and Brandon King in free agency.

Pre-season program

The exhibition program was finalized on Thursday.

The Patriots, who normally close out the preseason against the Giants, will open against them instead, with a home game Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.

Next up will be another home game against Carolina on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m., which will culminate a week of joint practices with the Panthers.

The slate will end on August 26 with a game at 8:15 p.m. in Las Vegas. The Patriots will likely hold a few joint practices with Josh McDaniels Raiders.


Jim McBride can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.

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