Pats’ Godchaux: ‘No more work to do’ after getting extension

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Davon Godchaux came to New England a year ago largely to gamble in a defense led by Bill Belichick.

The lineman said seizing the opportunity to expand that relationship — and continue to play a vital role in the unit’s ongoing transformation — was an easy decision.

A day after signing a two-year, $20.8 million extension with the Patriots, Godchaux said he used it as motivation to help the Patriots improve a once-ranked run defense. near the bottom of the league in 2021.

“It shows appreciation for all the hard work. Fourth year in the league, after a bicep injury and coming into an organization like this, a lot is expected,” Godchaux said Thursday, a day after the signing a deal that agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed includes $17.85 million in guaranteed dollars.”I wanted to make sure I lived up to those expectations.”

The Patriots signed Godchaux as part of their free agency spending spree in 2021 after playing his first four years in the league in Miami where he was primarily a backup, appearing in all 16 games in 2018 and 2019. He represented 123 tackles and three sacks. during that span but only played five games in 2020 before joining injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

That made him a prime target for New England, which needed to bolster its run defense after a 2020 season in which it ranked 26th in the NFL, giving up 131.4 rushing yards per game. .

The Patriots first secured Godchaux’s services with a two-year, $16 million contract ($9 million guaranteed) that put him in position to play a bigger role than he had with the Dolphins.

” That suits me. I feel like when I first signed here, it was my home,” Godchaux said. “Coming from Miami with coach (Brian) Flores, he ran the same system and I came here and I feel like plug and play. Bill, he’s honest. Positive review. He’s gonna hold you accountable. I needed a coach like that and when I got here that was all I thought it was.

While Godchaux often repeats the “Stop the rush, have fun” mantra instilled in him in college when he played under former LSU coach Ed Orgeron, his addition only led to many slight improvements by the Patriots in 2021. They allowed opponents to rush for 126.5 yards per game (24th in the NFL).

But Godchaux was a big reason for the improvement, leading all Patriot defensive linemen with 65 combined tackles.

He said the New England program brings out the best parts of his game.

“It’s real football. It’s Bill Parcells. Real football using our eyes, hands and feet,” Godchaux said. “It helps you grow. It helps you succeed.

Belichick said his efforts last season made locking him up for two years a priority.

“He’s one of the best defensive linemen in the league,” Belichick said. “I’m glad we were able to work this out with Davon and Drew and get it done. Both parties are happy, the contract has been signed and we will move forward.

For Godchaux, it’s all fuel as he looks to progress in his second year in New England.

He said he felt like he was still growing as he entered his sixth season in the NFL.

“I’m glad to have received the praise from Bill, but there’s still work to be done,” he said. “I’m still learning how to get into 6th grade. A lot of people look at me like an old man, but I look at myself as if I’m still young. I started the six years in the league. Thank God. Maintain leadership. I’m not really a big “rah-rah guy”. Rather, I lead by example.

This included walking into the establishment after his last pay raise with the same mentality he had when he arrived before last season.

“I will never let money change me,” Godchaux said. “Always the same person. Always the same hunger. Every day I’m going to play the same way.

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Maria D. Ervin