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BOSTON (CBS) – Julien Edelman was once a quarterback, and knows what it is like to get hit by a blitzing defender.
On Sunday, he got to return the favor.
In as a defensive back for the Patriots in the second half against the Eagles, Edelman came free on a blitz and delivered a hit to the midsection of Eagles quarterback Vince Young.
“With the new rules I didn’t want to get a penalty. I just wanted to hit him in the right zone,” Edelman said after New England’s 38-20 win.
This came just a few plays after he made an open-field tackle on Young, a quarterback known for making plays with his feet. It was one of three tackles Edelman recorded in limited time on defense. He also made a stop on Philadelphia’s elusive running back LeSean McCoy.
While he is still getting a feel for defense, Edelman is learning a little more every week.
“Every play you get a little more experience. I wouldn’t say I’m totally comfortable out there, but I’m starting to learn a little more. I enjoy being on the field. Whether it’s defense, offense, special teams, I enjoy being on the field.”
A quarterback in college, Edelman returned kicks and lined up as a receiver for the past two years in New England. Now he is showing off his versatility, contributing a little in all three phases of the game. He is getting praise from head coach Bill Belichick, who pointed out Edelman’s hard work during practice and splitting time between all the different meetings.
“He’s worked hard and he’s really been a huge help for us,” said Belichick after the game. “We’ve been in a couple tight spots here and we were in it again today and we went strolling back outside at the end of the game. He’s worked hard and he’s really helped us.”
His teammates are taking notice too, no matter which side of the ball they are on.
“I’ve always said since day one when I met him, he’s a scrappy guy,” corner Kyle Arrington said of Edelman. “He’s a hard-nosed worker. Tough is probably the main characteristic I can describe him as.”
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“He’s done a great job filling in wherever the coaches have asked,” receiver Wes Welker said. “It’s great to have a versatile guy to step up and play defense or back up on offense. Being able to do all those different things; return punts and play special teams. It’s always the more you can do in the NFL, and he’s living proof of that.”
Edelman knows he might make mistakes while on defense, but he has little time to think about them.
“You’re just thinking about your assignments and techniques,’ he said. “Whether you have a good play or bad play, you have to have a short memory and just try to start thinking about the next play because it could be offense or defense.”
As for possibly getting more shots at the opposing quarterback, Edelman said it depends on the playbook
“You’ll have to ask coach B on that,” he said. “We’ll see.”