BOSTON (CBS) — Less than two weeks after he plucked Eric Lee off the Bills’ practice squad, Bill Belichick is already putting the linebacker in positions to succeed. And Lee sure delivered big-time against his former team.
Lee sparked the Patriots defense early in their 23-3 win in Buffalo on Sunday, extinguishing a strong opening drive by the Bills with a goal line interception. It wasn’t a hard catch for Lee to make, but he deserves credit for knowing where to be and getting into the right spot to make it. He also logged 1.5 sacks (and has 2.5 in two games with the Patriots) and four total tackles.
Again, he was on the Bills practice squad less than two weeks ago.
Belichick was asked about Lee’s superlative effort against the Bills during his Monday conference call, and what has helped him make an impact so quickly. The head coach was typically reserved in his praise, but explained Lee’s early success in simple terms: he’s done his job.
“Well, he’s done the things that we’ve asked him to do and he’s done them at a pretty good level,” said Belichick. “I mean, he’s only been here a couple weeks, so there’s still a lot of things for him to learn and there are finer points on various plays that, when he sees them again, he’ll recognize them quicker or react a little bit differently. But, overall, he’s done a solid job for us in the things that he’s been asked to do.
“He was asked to do a little more yesterday than he was last week against Miami, so maybe that role will increase, maybe it will stay the same, maybe it will decrease a little bit depending on the game plan and so forth. We’ll just have to see how that goes, but the last two weeks, the opportunities he’s had, he’s given us some good plays and I’m glad we have him.”
Lee already looks like value added for the Patriots defense, and an upgrade over the jettisoned Cassius Marsh. It remains to be seen if Lee can bring the same kind of effort against teams other than the Bills, but he has already significantly helped them win one game. That alone may be enough to deem the coach’s latest low-risk acquisition a success.
As Michael Hurley put it in his leftover thoughts, Lee coming out of nowhere is just classic Belichick.