Danny Woodhead sees Patriots-Chargers matchup from unique view

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Running back Danny Woodhead spent three seasons with the Patriots (2010-2012) and four with the Chargers (2013-2016), so he views a Patriots-Chargers matchup in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs through a different lens than most.

One of the first things that comes to his mind is how the Patriots might combat one of the Chargers’ greatest strengths: an effective pass rush led by Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

“When I was in New England, something we did a lot of times, we minimized pass-rushers, and you can do that in different ways,” he said. “Maybe that’s get the ball out quick. Maybe that’s chip the defensive ends early. Everyone would talk about how ‘they’ll get to the quarterback,’ but there are ways to minimize that. We would make it a point to not allow them to get going, and I could see that happening [Sunday]. That’s what I would do.”8

“Both of them run the show, and both have the ability and trust from their coaches to change plays whenever they need to, to get into the correct protection they need to. They both have a lot on their plate. And if you asked both of them, that’s how they want it. They want everyone to rely on them. I think there are a lot of similarities in what they do.”

As for the Patriots and Chargers organizations as a whole, it is a bit more challenging for Woodhead to find similarities.

“I don’t know if it’s where it is on the map, [but] California is different than the Northeast. It’s not in, like, a better or worse way, and I don’t want to say it’s the laid-back mentality because when you look at this Chargers team, there is nothing laid-back about it, but probably the biggest difference is that everything is kind of under Bill [Belichick]. He’s essentially the general manager [too], and everyone knows the expectations,” Woodhead said. “It’s not that there wasn’t an expectation to be great in San Diego or L.A., but everyone knows the expectation of the Patriots, and that’s something that is obviously a trickle-down effect.

“I’d say in San Diego, it’s different when you have a general manager and coach. It was still work. You cared about things and took pride in what you did and doing your job. Was it a little more lax? Maybe. I know that works in some places. And what works in New England has worked a long time. I don’t think one is right or wrong.”

Meanwhile, retiring after last season proved to be the right decision for Woodhead, who has returned to Nebrask