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Patriots believe pass rusher Josh Uche is primed for a breakout – Boston Herald

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FOXBORO — Is this the year for Josh Uche?

The Patriots’ third-year pass rusher received all of the proper hype last summer, both internally and externally, as a high draft pick heading into his second season.

Uche had the opportunity, the talent, the proverbial Year 2 leap ready to spring him into a potential 10-sack season. And then … virtually nothing.

Over a dozen game appearances, Uche managed 12 tackles and three sacks. He hit quarterbacks just one other time. The Patriots instead turned to familiar veterans Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower on the edge, plus Pro Bowler Matt Judon. Uche slumped down the depth chart.

Judon is the only player remaining of that trio, and the starting spot opposite him remains vacant; another opportunity Uche’s teammates now expect him to seize.

“I think he’s going to have a breakout year,” offensive tackle Trent Brown said after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “(He) took strides over the offseason, he’s prepared through the course of the offseason. He’s ready to go.”

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