Jamie Collins endured a rare session with the media on Wednesday. (Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — No high-level performer on the Patriots roster does a better job at keeping a low profile than linebacker Jamie Collins.
Collins, who is regarded by many as one of the best and most versatile defenders on the team, has absolutely zero interest in the art of self-promotion. His sessions with the media are few and far between, and when they do happen — like Wednesday — they are punctuated by two- and three-sentence responses. So when he talks, it’s a special occasion.
In his fourth year, the Southern Miss product takes criticism and praise the same way. Like when someone informed him that former teammate Jerod Mayo proclaimed that Collins was the MVP of the team through the first three games.
“I appreciate it, but I’m doing me,” Collins shrugged. “I’m trying to get it, regardless.”
That means always trying to find places he can improve.
“There’s always room for improvement. Like I said, I’m trying to get there every day by coming in here and doing what I do,” he said. “Getting faster, stronger, bigger. Seeing things quicker. Everything. Whatever it may be to make me get better.”
“Jamie’s an impact hitter. He’s got a lot of explosion, a lot of power,” said Bill Belichick. “He can certainly deliver a solid blow, and he’s long, and he’s athletic (and) he has got good range. So yeah, he’s a good player.
“He brings a lot to our team both in his talents and also in his playing style and his aggressiveness and ability to do whatever we ask him to do. Whether that’s playing zone-coverage, playing man-coverage, rush the passer, play on the end of the line, play in the middle of the line. With [Dont’a] Hightower out he’s had a lot of communication and play-calling responsibilities and he has not only handled those well, but it hasn’t affected any other parts of his game; that added responsibility.”
Whether you agree with Mayo’s assessment, it’s hard to argue with the results. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder leads the Patriots in tackles (23) and interceptions (2), and is tied for the team lead in passes defense (3), all to go along with one sack. Picking up some of the slack in the wake of the knee injury sustained by Hightower, he’s also worn the green dot on the back of his helmet.
But don’t tell him he’s unique because he gets to wear the communication device from the sidelines.
“Everybody makes too much of the green dot,” he said. “It ain’t really nothing. It ain’t nothing. It ain’t nothing.”
Collins also dismisses talk of added pressure on his shoulders because he’s in a contract year.
“No, man. I ain’t worried about none of that,” he said. “Like I said, man. I’m going to come in here and do what i do, regardless. Regardless.”
Would that include playing some quarterback? He lined up under center in high school, and the Patriots do have some uncertainty at the position going into Sunday’s contest against the Bills.
“I can play whatever,” he said with a small smile. “Whatever it is. I don’t care what the level is. Whatever it is you need me to do, I’m doing.”