FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New Patriots linebacker Jonathan Casillas was used to winning when he spent four seasons with the New Orleans Saints and won a Super Bowl. When Casillas went to Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers struggled, as the team is sitting at 1-6 this season.
Now with the New England Patriots, Casillas is humbled to be a part of a franchise that has sustained success for so many years and is doing it yet again in 2014.
"Everybody knows what the Patriots are doing, that’s for sure," Casillas said. "They may not want to mimic exactly, but they know what Belichick is doing, that they set the standard -- we set the standard. I say 'they' because my first six years I’ve been looking at the Patriots. Now to be a part of it is pretty amazing."
Casillas was asked how it feels to go from the 1-6 Bucs to the 6-2 Patriots.
"Do I really have to answer that question?" Casillas said.
The Patriots traded a 2015 fifth-round pick to the Bucs for Casillas and a sixth-round pick on Tuesday at the trade deadline. He’s working hard to make a quick transition to an entirely new defensive system, which is something he has had to do countless times throughout his NFL career.
"I feel like I’m cramming for a final in college," Casillas said. "I’m happy to be here and blessed to have this opportunity to play for a great organization.
"This is my fourth [defensive] coordinator in four years since Gregg [Williams], so five [defensive] coordinators in five years, and that’s the tough part -- learning all of these different defensive schemes -- not really transitioning city to city because a city is a city. I can get acclimated to my surrounding place. My job learning the Xs and Os about what I’m going to do every day and the verbiage and the communication, that’s the difficult part."
With the season-ending injury to linebacker Jerod Mayo, the Patriots have signed Casillas and Akeem Ayers to provide some depth and an impact at the position. Casillas acknowledges that he admires Mayo’s play.
"I’m a big fan of Jerod [Mayo]," Casillas said. "I played against him when he was a junior and I was a senior at Wisconsin. He had like 15 tackles. I’ve always watched these guys. I’m a fan of the game. Definitely a fan of these guys. With [Devin] McCourty back deep, it’s a great scheme for me to be in."
Casillas has been a part of many different defensive schemes, but he said none is as unique as the Patriots’ scheme.
"I’ve never seen anything like this defense before, and that’s just me being a 4-3 guy, 225 [pounds]," Casillas said. "I’ve always played outside linebacker, and now they have me doing some stuff inside.
"Basically saying I’m going to be playing on some sub packages, pass situations, nickel and dollar personnel and stuff like that, just adding some depth. I think our linebackers are good, watching Jamie [Collins] and Dont'a [Hightower] perform. [They are] big guys that can run and are very physical. I’m just hoping to add a little different element to that -- a little speed, a little quickness."
Casillas also expects to be a factor on special teams, even as soon as Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
"All four [special-teams units]," Casillas said. "I’m a core guy. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do.
"[Scott] O’Brien, as soon as I got here he was meeting with me and I’m doing extra work with him just to get caught up to speed. Because they want me to go this weekend, and I want to go this weekend."