Who’s Got Your Back? – The Linebackers

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

With a recent injection of youth and ejection of age at linebacker – sorry, Mike Vrabel – Bill Belichick has sought to revamp the position that took a starring role in the Patriots’ championship runs.

Former Patriot Willie “Methuselah” McGinest has publicly considered coming back to Foxboro. It says something about New England’s linebackers (and fans’ nostalgia) that this seems only half crazy.

What I Like

A Young-ian Philosophy: Three top-90 draft picks in two years (Jerod Mayo, Shawn Crable, Tyrone McKenzie), plus some pleasant rookie free agent surprises (Pierre Woods, Gary Guyton, Vince Redd), have brought much-needed fresh faces to the position.

Highway To Health: Before breaking his arm last November, Adalius Thomas had five sacks, leading the team after nine games. He’s a frontrunner for this year’s sack race.

From The Crable To The Rave: Crable has been praised in camp for his speed off the edge, a hopeful harbinger of QB harassment.

What I Don’t Like

Can Tedy Bear It?: When a player gets asked if this is his final season, it’s time to look at his age. Tedy Bruschi has reached 36, past retirement age for linebackers not named Junior Seau.

Hey, No Rush: We know Thomas can get to the quarterback. We don’t know if Crable,  Woods or Redd can, if and when all three are healthy.

Stuck In The Middle With You: We’ll avoid the requisite condiment joke and just tell you what might go with Mayo: Bruschi; a free agent from a semi-pro club (former Lion Paris Lenon ); an undrafted second-year player (Guyton); an undrafted, oft-injured sixth-year player (Eric Alexander); not an injured rookie (McKenzie). The middle of this defense seems about as stout as a wine spritzer.

Email Chris Warner at chris.warner@patriotsdaily.com