Patriots HOFer Andre Tippett enjoying Matthew Judon's hot start

Matthew Judon (9) and Jalen Mills of the New England Patriots celebrate an interception in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Judon is trying to do something this week no Patriot has done before. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Tippett on Judon: Outside linebacker Matthew Judon has recorded a sack in each of the first four games of the 2022 season. He joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett as the only Patriots to start a season accomplishing that feat.

Tippett did it in 1986, and he’ll be watching Sunday, as Judon -- wearing throwback uniforms and helmets from Tippett’s playing days -- attempts to become the first player in franchise history to notch at least one sack in each of the first five games of a season.

“He brings excitement. I love watching him play,” Tippett said leading up to the Patriots' game against the Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox).

“I’m just like all the 60-70,000 fans we have in the building watching him, you see those red sleeves [under his jersey], and he’s all revved up, trying to get off on the ball. And I’m trying to get off on the ball with him. Fast hands, slap, rip, uppercut, speed rush. Throw a bull rush on this guy. I’m there.”

Tippett, who played from 1982 to 1993 and holds the franchise record for sacks (100), added that he appreciates how Judon (16.5 sacks in 21 games in New England) is more than just a pass-rusher. He contributes against the run as well, which was something Tippett took pride in as a player.

As for Judon’s diverse pass-rushing arsenal, Tippett particularly likes one move.

“He has that change-of-direction, that hump move, where he gets the tackle moving up, and then he comes back and slips under with that rip, uppercut,” he said. “It’s a [lethal] move. If the tackle doesn’t move his feet and can’t move with him, he’s going to blow that quarterback up, and that can be a turnover.”

Tippett, who serves as the Patriots’ executive director of community affairs, said his enjoyment watching Judon is similar to when Chandler Jones (2012-15), among others, played for the franchise.

The two have connected a couple of times, mostly when Judon has been part of a community appearance and Tippett might be there too.

“He’s really quiet and very respectful,” Tippett said. “I’ve watched him interact with folks, and it’s really nice to see, because he gets it and knows the importance of making people feel good. Maybe we’re making a wish come true, congratulating a survivor, any of those things; a guy like Judon is part of that and you watch their eyes light up.”

For his part, Judon said he’s enjoyed his limited interactions with Tippett, and learning more about his past success after his former Ravens teammate, Elvis Dumervil, advised him to do so.

“He’s around the building. We talk a little bit. I know he was an all-time great Patriot, Hall of Fame, has the most sacks here,” Judon said of Tippett. “Elvis told me ‘Find out the records all the rush guys have, and go try to break those’ and that’s what I’m trying to do -- as long as it’s within the defense and helping us with the main goal to try to win games.”

2. Throwback flavor: The Patriots will be in their red throwback uniforms and white Pat Patriot helmets for Sunday’s game, which hits home for Tippett.

“I absolutely love seeing them. I think all teams should have it, where they have to wear retro uniforms twice a year, to bring it back so people can remember what it used to be,” he said.

“I see Twitter, and people reacting to it, how it’s ‘old school’ this week. You see people asking things like, ‘Who’s the first player this reminds you of?’ It’s cool. This is going to be a nice Sunday out there watching the old retro ‘Pat Patriot’ jerseys and seeing some 56s [Tippett’s old number] in the stands.”

3. LB regrets? In May, after the team surprisingly didn’t select a linebacker in the draft, Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo told the “Pats from the Past” podcast that the team had some “unknown” players at the position that sparked excitement. The team’s re-signing of 32-year-old linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. (to the practice squad) last Monday reflects how many of those “unknowns” haven’t emerged as consistent front-line contributors -- a group including 2021 draft picks Ronnie Perkins and Cameron McGrone, and veterans Raekwon McMillan and Mack Wilson Sr. The Patriots have given up 325 rushing yards over the past six quarters and shaky linebacker play has been part of the issue.

4. Zappe the underdog: With rookie Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe primed to make his first career NFL start, a reminder that he received just one Division I scholarship offer coming out of Victoria (Texas) High School in 2017. He put himself on the NFL radar after playing at Houston Baptist and then Western Kentucky, before landing at the Senior Bowl, where he was coached by the Lions staff … the team he’s set to face Sunday.

5. Henry's stats: Tight end Hunter Henry has five catches for 41 yards through four games. Last season, he had 14 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown through four games. His thoughts? "It is what it is, man. At our position, we're asked to do a lot of different things. The last few weeks, we've been asked to do a lot in the run game and pass-blocking game," he said.

6. Backing Jack: Rookie cornerback Jack Jones flexed his confidence after last week's loss to the Packers -- when he had a 40-yard interception return of Aaron Rodgers for a touchdown -- saying he feels it's disrespectful when a quarterback throws an "out" route in his direction. "I laughed. That's what it's about to be young, energetic, confident," captain Devin McCourty said, before adding: "He just has to make sure he doesn't give up any 'outs' now."

7. Load management: Can less be more? We'll find out, based on how the Patriots respond against the Lions on Sunday, as this was a week to highlight how sports science factors into coach Bill Belichick's decision-making. The Patriots didn't have a full-pads practice leading up to Sunday's game, which was a break from the norm. Furthermore, Belichick lightened the load by moving Wednesday's practice indoors and making it more of a walk-through -- a big-picture decision based on playing a full overtime in last Sunday's loss to Green Bay, which came after a physical loss to the Ravens.

8. Thornton impact: The Patriots didn’t waste any time activating rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton -- the speedy receiver from Baylor, drafted in the second round -- to the active roster off injured reserve. This was the earliest possible time to bring Thornton back, so he’ll be active Sunday against the Lions. Now the intriguing question is which skill-position player might be inactive as a result of it. The Patriots could give Jakobi Meyers (knee) another week even though he feels he’s close to a return. If not, the other considerations based on the depth chart would be running back Pierre Strong Jr. and. receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Kendrick Bourne.

9. Crusader returns: When Belichick arrived for his Wednesday news conference and began dissecting the Lions, he noted the presence of returner Kalif Raymond. "Crusader. Love a Crusader," Belichick said. That was a reference to Raymond's college career at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Belichick's daughter, Amanda, is in her seventh season as women's lacrosse coach.

10. Did you know? The Patriots have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends this season, the highest total in the NFL.