Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. chose to join Detroit in free agency because of his familiarity with Matt Patricia and his defensive scheme, and because he thinks Detroit is closer to winning than some might think.
"Me and Matty P have a little bit of history behind us," Collins said in a conference call Tuesday. "I think Detroit and the Lions is an up-and-coming team ... a player or two or three away from doing big things. So, I feel like I can help with that."
Fans and outside observers could point to Detroit's nine wins over the last two years to oppose that statement, but Collins said players look at situations within teams a little different, knowing that outcomes in the NFL typically come down to just a handful of plays. He feels this Lions team is close to being on the right end of some of those plays.
"One play here, one play there," Collins said. "When you're a player, you look at the game different than outsiders and fans. We break down the game and process the game and digest the game just different than the average person.
"It's always one or two plays that's the difference in the game and I just feel like me being a veteran now, I can bring some veteran, some professional little things to get us over the top, and I'm definitely up for the challenge."
Collins is part of an extensive refurbishing of Detroit's defense this offseason. Gone are cornerback Darius Slay, outside linebacker Devon Kennard, defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels remains a free agent. Detroit's added Collins, a versatile outside linebacker, along with defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Nick Williams, cornerback Desmond Trufant and safeties Duron Harmon and Jayron Kearse. The Lions also have four picks in the top 85 in next month's NFL Draft.
View photos of linebacker Jamie Collins. Photos courtesy Associated Press.
Collins said he spoke to defensive end Trey Flowers and wide receiver Danny Amendola about Detroit before signing here and determined it was a good fit. He thinks he can help the Lions make a few more of those plays that determine wins vs. losses moving forward.
Collins, 30, started 15 games and played 81 percent of the snaps for New England's top-ranked defense last season. He set a career-high with seven sacks to go along with 81 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries, 10 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He did that playing as an edge rusher, defensive tackle and off-the-ball linebacker. He's versatile and productive, and could be a nice chess piece for Detroit's defense.
Asked what type of player the Lions are getting, Collins said they're definitely getting a professional. They're also getting a winner, a leader, someone who's accountable, a guy who plays with great energy, and someone who's determined.
"We definitely going to start winning," he said. "Right now."