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In their week 6 game against Buffalo the Patriots linebacker corps took a huge hit when Jerod Mayo was lost for the season. He was also a team captain and defensive play caller.

Dont'a Hightower had to step up and fill in the signal caller role left by Mayo. He was able to lead the defense to five wins against some of the most explosive offenses in the league. Then last week it was announced that Hightower would have to sit out against the Chargers in order to recover from a shoulder injury.

Jamie Collins, the second year player and the first Patriots selection of the 2013 NFL draft had to lead the potent Patriot defense against a talented Chargers offense. Boy did he show up.

The Patriots defense recorded 4 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 7 qb hits and did not give up a single point the second half.

Bill Belichick could only praise the sophomore linebacker in his performance last Sunday stating:

Jamie did a great job of controlling the defense... There were a couple of checks and adjustments that we had to make. San Diego kind of puts some pressure on you by the number of times they line up in empty formations. Most of the time they shift back in, but not always. That’s just another brick on the load to deal with.

He’s done a good job of rushing, an excellent job of communicating and working with his teammates and getting other guys in the right spots... I really can’t say enough about the job he did last night.

One could say the Patriots are running down hill now with only division opponents to play. However the Dolphins already beat New England at the beginning of the season and Tannehill has found a solid weapon in Jarvis Landry. If Hightower's progress slows Collins may be called upon again to run one of the best defenses in the league.

Do you believe Jamie Collins will eventually take over the signal caller position permanently? How do you think the linebacker from Southern Mississippi has progressed since joining the NFL? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Benjamin Dawes 12/09/2014 10:47:00 PM Edit
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