Monday, July 7, 2014

Patriots' Résumé - James Anderson

Dear Coach,

Heard you were looking for a Big Nickle.  Here I am.

For years, this team has lacked a legitimate nickle linebacker, getting by with weakside linebacker Jerod Mayo going sideline to sideline - but when his season ended with a torn pectoral muscle, so did your chances of consistently being able to cover anyone underneath, something that the Broncos exploited to their full advantage in the AFC Championship game.

In that game, as you know, your defense struggled to cover all of Peyton Manning's receivers to begin with, then were completely overwhelmed once Wes Welker took out Aqib Talib - yet they still managed to keep the game close enough for Tom Brady and your offense to make a 4th quarter run.

And that, more than anything else, is why I wanted to play in New England.  In my nine years in the NFL, I have been to exactly one playoff game - 2008 with the Panthers - and we got our asses handed to us by the Cardinals in our own house despite having a first round bye.  We didn't have what it took for the limelight, but your Patriots do, and I wanted to be part of that.

I just want to contribute to a winner, and I don't need to be a starter - which is excellent because you already have Dont'a Hightower as your downhill thumper and Jamie Collins is an athletic freak with a stanglehold on the strongside, so combined with a healthy Mayo you appear to be set with your starting trio - but when the nickle is called for, Hightower can now come out in favor of an honest-to-goodness nickle backer.

That would be me.

I'm not too proud to admit that I wore down toward the end of last season in Chicago, when injuries forced me to man the strong side the entire year.  I made a lot of tackles for sure, but I am not your prototypical SAM and my impact was limited because I'm not really big enough to set and hold the edge in the running game - and knowing that, the opposing team ran the ball right at me.
Thought you might enjoy a pic of me destroying Victor Cruz

I am at my best on the hip of a running back or tight end in the pattern, and with 4.5 speed to go along with my 6' 2", 235 pound frame, my calling is as a hybrid safety / linebacker in press coverage - and if that is indeed why I'm here, it will be the first time in my professional career that I'd actually be playing to my strengths.

Even at 30 years old, I still run faster than most running backs and tight ends, and perhaps many slot receivers as well - and I can generate some heat in the pass rush off the edge, fully cognizant of trap draws and screens and with the loose hips, speed and agility to get to get to the ball carrier and close him down before he gets too much forward momentum going.

So at this point in my career, I'm what you would call a piece of the puzzle - but an important piece as a Big Nickle is an essential thing to have in this age of spread formations and monstrously athletic tight ends - and to play that role for the New England Patriots and have a shot at making the playoffs is an honor.

Who knows?  Maybe together we can win a championship - and that's something that looks pretty good on anyone's résumé.


James Anderson



James Nathaniel Anderson
c/o New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
1 Patriot Place
Foxborough, Massachusetts 02035

Career Focus: 

To help the New England Patriots win more Lombardi Trophies

  • Bachelor's Degree in Studio Arts from Virginia Tech (Class of 2006)
  • Graduate studies in Physical Education  (current)

 Professional Experience:
  • 2006 - 2012 - Carolina Panthers (Selected in 3rd round of 2006 NFL Draft)
  • 2013 - 2014 - Chicago Bears
  • 2014 - Present - New England Patriots
Awards & Honors
  • Four-time Excalibur Award winner at Virginia Tech (Workout Award)
  • Franchise record 20 tackles for Panthers vs. Giants in 2012
  • Was granted permission by Mike Singletary to wear his number 50 for the Bears
Regular Season Stats (110 Games):
  • 556 Total tackles (402 solo, 154 helpers)
  • 12 Career Sacks
  • 3 Career interceptions and 23 passes defended
  • 5 Career forced fumbles and 8 fumble recoveries

Publisher's note: This"Résumé" is the work of the staff from Foxborough Free Press and is part of an ongoing series highlighting the players who - in our opinion - will be part of the 53 man roster when Patriots' training camp breaks.

Be sure to follow the series, starting with the "Résumés" already posted:

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