Why Has Linebacker Jamie Collins Struggled?
Linebacker Jamie Collins has struggled in his first season with the Detroit Lions.
The veteran linebacker signed a three-year, $30 million deal with Detroit this past offseason.
His contract includes $18 million in fully guaranteed money.
I have studied all four games this season, and it is very clear to me -- Collins is not demonstrating the caliber of play that is required to help this defense.
I could have saved the Lions $30 million, if they simply would have called me.
In 2017, when I was in contact with the Cleveland Browns about the general manager job there, I wrote a scouting report on Collins, who then played for the Browns.
Just for fun when writing this article, I pulled out my old report on Collins, and it is pretty much identical to what we have seen on the field this season.
He does not want it enough.
If there is one thing I cannot stand in the NFL, it's just how limited the imaginations are of the guys who run and coach the teams.
Every time the guys go from one team to the next, they try to stockpile rejects and throwaways from their last team.
This is the Detroit Lions - - not the Detroit Patriots.
My 2017 scouting report on Collins
LB Jamie Collins - 6-foot-4, 250 pounds
GRADE: F (a player that is going to get the team beat)
Big-and-solid-looking linebacker with brute strength, but below-average techniques, speed and motor. Often just put in shoulder at the point of attack, and lacked any ability whatsoever to disengage. Extremely poor use of hands to disengage. Flashes aggression and rock-solid tackling ability when everything lines up just right. But, that was not nearly enough for me. A lot of the time was easy to control, and didn’t show a lot of fight. Occasionally looks slow diagnosing and reacting. Has tremendous trouble changing direction in the open field. Stiff. Rigid. Best and most sure tackler in terms of form of all the linebackers. Just his lack of speed, technique and most of all, his poor effort overall make him very replaceable and as soon as possible in my book.
Shows up once in a while, but most of the time, he doesn’t look like he really wants it. At one point, he literally let a running back run right by him without doing anything. Disappointing. He’s a liability on the field.
Fast-forward to this season.
In the opener vs. Chicago, he underperformed before he got ejected.
He got tied up easily with blockers.
He looked slow. He looked lethargic.
He did not look like he was into it at all.
In Week 2 against Green Bay, he was quite disappointing.
If you don't believe it, just check out his failed attempt to tackle Packers running back Aaron Jones on Jones' 75-yard touchdown run to start the second half.
In Week 3 against Arizona, he performed much better, and had by far his best game of the season.
He recorded a big sack when he shot the gap, and then made a nice interception cutting off a route.
In Week 4 against New Orleans, he was decent.
He definitely looked more alert.
There is no question that Collins has looked more into it the past two weeks than he did in the first two games of this season.
The reason I know that Collins lacks motivation is because he flashes a lot more ability from time to time, before cruising at 30 MPH for the rest of the game.
I cannot even count how many times I saw Collins either jog or go half-speed this season on All-22 coaches' film.
However, even when Collins is at his very best, he is still a limited-area brute who can not beat a block to save his life.
He looks more like he is auditioning for "Dancing with the Stars" and dancing around with offensive linemen than he does a linebacker who is trying to actually get to the ball carrier.
No doubt, Collins is physically strong, and is a punishing tackler when he is left unchallenged.
He can freelance before deciding to wallop someone.
Outside of that, though, Collins looks just like another warm body on the football field, or as Bill Parcells liked to say, he looks like a "JAG," which stands for "Just Another Guy."
Matt Patricia has not figured out how to get more out of Collins.
Maybe he should call his mentor and ask him, because so far this season, it has been borderline embarrassing watching Collins.
I know if I was the opponent, I would run right at him, with a lead blocker every time we handed the ball off.
The real question, to me, is not why Collins is struggling.
Instead, it's what were the Lions thinking.
I cannot be the only one who knows how to turn on the film. Or maybe, I am.
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