Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and in the spirit of the holiday, I believe it’s important to assess what we are thankful for. A “full audit,” if you will. At the table, I’ve always said food, family, and football. Nothing beats a whiskey, a football game, and a full belly. With that, let’s count down what Patriots fans should be most thankful for this season. Spoiler alert: none of these items include Matt Patricia.
Matt, back to film and don’t come out until we tell you to.
What Patriots fans should be thankful for: #5
Kyle Dugger as one of the league’s top safeties
When the Patriots drafted Kyle Dugger out of little-known Lenoir-Rhyne in 2020, I think most fans would be lying if they said they weren’t scratching their heads. Then we saw the film. Then we saw him on the field. While the game did appear too big for him at times as a rookie, he did show flashes. Dugger’s development since been steady and impressive.
Now in his third season, Kyle Dugger is an absolute stud. He can cover in the slot, erase the league’s most athletic tight ends, and is one of the league’s best safeties in run support. Through eight games played this year, he has 34 tackles, one sack, three pass defenses, one interception, and one defensive touchdown on a fumble return.
Last week’s game against the Jets was a great example of the way Dugger can change the game for this team. He had his first sack of the season, two tackles for loss, a pass defense, and nearly caused a Jets fumble with their backs against their own goal line. More crucially, he stuffed Michael Carter on third down and one. This stop forced the Jets to punt and Marcus Jones did the rest.
Kyle Dugger should get his first Pro Bowl nod this year, and it likely won’t be his last.