BEREA, Ohio -- Despite the struggles that came with a 1-15 record during the 2016 season after a mid-year trade from the New England Patriots to the Cleveland Browns, veteran linebacker Jamie Collins was quick to reach a contract extension in early January.
And now, nearly eight months later, Collins finds himself helping to lead a defense full of young players anxious to learn.
“For sure, it is a great group of guys,” Collins said. “I’m glad to be here. This is my job, so I’m coming to work every day with that on my mind. It is a brotherhood.”
Ranked near the bottom of the National Football League in several statistical categories in 2016, the Browns sought out and added talent to bolster their defense at the NFL trade deadline last November.
And bolster their roster they did by trading a draft pick to the Patriots in exchange for Collins, a veteran defender who has proven versatile enough to contribute on his side of the ball as well as special teams.
Over his career in New England, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Collins totaled 285 tackles, 10.5 sacks, five interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, four recoveries, one defensive touchdown and a blocked extra point.
After joining the Browns, Collins registered 69 total tackles, including 48 solo stops and 21 assists, two sacks and one forced fumble over his eight starts.
On the field for the fourth-most plays in the NFL this past season, the Browns allowed 392.4 yards and 22.8 first downs per game, and surrendered third-down conversions on 45.1 percent of their opponents’ attempts.
Also, the Browns’ 26 sacks tied for the second fewest in the NFL.
Because of the lack of defensive success, the Browns made a change at coordinator and brought in Super Bowl-winning assistant Gregg Williams in January, which is something Collins feels could lead to success in the regular season.
“I feel pretty good about this system,” Collins said. “We have a lot of energy around our defense. We have guys flying around the ball. I’m just looking forward to great things.”