CLEVELAND -- Defensively, the Cleveland Browns have struggled with stopping the run in each of the last two weeks, and it proved costly in losses to the Cincinnati Bengals on the road and New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday.
In order to change the fortunes of the defense, the Browns dealt a conditional pick in the NFL Draft to the New England Patriots in exchange for Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins.
“It is another sign of where I think we are headed,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We are always looking for ways to improve our team, and I think we truly did so here. I had the opportunity to talk to Jamie on the phone. It was a great conversation. I think he is going to come here with an open mind and come here and play football.
“He is kind of a quiet young man who I think the most important thing to him is playing. I think that is what is important to him. I am looking forward to meeting him and spending time with him and getting him acclimated here as soon as we can and getting him to know his teammates and learning our system and what we do.
“We are working at this thing every day, 24/7. It is all I think about because obviously, for our fans, for our players, for everybody involved with this organization, as I said when I first came here, we are going to find a way to win. That is what my expectation is and I am not backing off of that.”
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Collins is in the middle of his fourth professional season after joining the Patriots through a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Southern Mississippi.
Over his career, Collins has totaled 285 tackles, 10.5 sacks, five interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, four recoveries, one defensive touchdown and a blocked extra point.
“He is a tremendous pass rusher,” Jackson said. “He can play linebacker. There are several things he can do. He has a real versatile skillset because he has done both there in New England. We will definitely find ways to plug him in and have him be a contributing member to our defense.”
A Pro Bowler in 2015, Collins led the Patriots in tackles over each of the last two seasons, including playing every snap on the way to a Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks.
However, despite registering 43 tackles, a sack, one forced fumble and two interceptions over seven games this year, Collins earned a reputation as a “freelancer” within the Patriots’ defense, but that did not deter the Browns from going and getting a talented defender to help their cause.
“He can freelance for me then,” Jackson said. “The way he freelances is okay with me. What happened there is not what is important for us here. We see a player that is very talented and has a tremendous skillset that fits in with what we do, so he is a Cleveland Brown now.”