The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

January 15, 2014

Pats rookie LB Jamie Collins makes mark on defense

(Continued)

"It was kind of a difference" to be in the playoffs, he said, but "every game is the same to me. Just go out there, do what you have to do and, hopefully, it comes out on the positive side."

In the second half, Collins stopped Trent Richardson for a 1-yard loss, sacked Luck for 8 yards and got down the field to intercept Luck's pass 23 yards from the line of scrimmage then return it 20 yards to set up the Patriots' final touchdown.

"I've seen it ever since he's gotten here," linebacker Dont'a Hightower said. "He's probably one of the most athletic guys on the team. ... For him to make plays like that, everybody else might be surprised, but we see it every day and for him to come out and have the game that he did, I wasn't surprised at all."

Collins was an all-purpose star in high school, playing quarterback, receiver, safety and outside linebacker. He played all 13 games at safety as a college freshman before shifting to linebacker the next year.

Patriots safety Steve Gregory thinks Collins' experience in the secondary has helped his development.

"Seeing the game from a different level," Gregory said. "Understanding the pass game a lot more playing safety, just understanding covering wide receivers and things like that and how guys run routes and combinations of routes. ... I'd imagine it helped out a little bit."

Once Collins joined the Patriots, Gregory knew the draft pick wasn't wasted.

"Jamie's worked hard all year," he said, "trying to understand what we're trying to do as a defense, fine-tuning his skills, working every day at just becoming a better football player. He's physical. He's big. He's fast. He does a lot of things well so we've seen a lot of that production pay off here from the hard work that he's put in."

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