Versatility has long been a Patriots hallmark, so the recent signing of defensive lineman Lawrence Guy to a four-year, $20 million deal makes a lot of sense.
This guy can play everywhere.
“I’ve played every position,’’ Guy said Thursday. “I’ve played nose-three, I’ve played the end, I’ve played outside the tight end, so I’m very versatile . . . Through my career I’ve been down the whole line and that made me who I am today. I was able to play outside then play inside. If I needed to go back outside or back inside, it all depends on how the system needs me to play and I’m able to adjust to it.’’
The five-year veteran has spent the last two-plus seasons showing off that versatility with the Ravens, where he collected 91 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
“If you look at my time in Baltimore, all of our linemen switched around different positions,’’ he said. “So due to that and due to the coaching under Clarence Brooks, he made sure we could play every single position that we needed to play. He built me into a well-rounded player.’’
Brooks was a longtime defensive line coach for the Ravens before his passing last September.
Guy figures to fit in as a rotational tackle in New England’s four-man front along with Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, and Vincent Valentine. Because the Patriots play so many sub packages, the 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pounder could also see time as a nose tackle and even some as a defensive end.
Guy, who said he’s had “a ball” being a part of the Patriots-Ravens rivalry, never imagined being on the other side of it but “you can’t really pass up the opportunity to play for the Patriots.’’
When the call from New England came, he was a little surprised.
“When I heard about the opportunity I was blessed,’’ said Guy, whose wife is expecting a baby daughter in about three months. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe I get to join this great organization.’ With the rivalry, when you play a team so much and it’s such a consistent battle, in reality when it’s a rivalry game you’re going to give it your all meaning blood, sweat, and tears . . . You’re going to fight, you’re going to cuss, and you’re going to play your hardest.’’
The Patriots will be Guy’s fifth team so he’s become accustomed to getting acclimated quickly and actually enjoys the process.
“You really just want to get the faces of everybody around the building – your equipment staff, your training staff, your chefs – everybody that could contribute behind the scenes,’’ he said. “Doing that, I’ve actually found it very easy to get to a new team because once you go in there with a friendly face and open mind, everybody seems to just follow and starts liking you, so it’s really simple to me now.’’
Ealy eager to help
Kony Ealy made a name for himself by being a one-man wrecking crew in Super Bowl 50 as the then-Panther relentlessly harassed Peyton Manning.
The performance, however, became just a footnote as Manning’s Broncos outlasted the Panthers to win the game.
Ealy recorded three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in just 23 snaps against Denver. Since that breakout performance, Ealy has been kind of under the radar screen.
As the once dominant Carolina defense dipped in 2016, so did Ealy’s play. The defensive end started just six games last season. Still, he was surprised to get word that he was being shipped to New England.
“This is a business, so you’ve got be prepared for anything,’’ he said. “I’ve been prepared my whole life for just different outcomes and obstacles to try to get up or down, so it’s just another part of life. You’ve just got to take the opportunities and make the most of them.’’
Ealy is taking the positive approach to the trade and is appreciative of the chance to play in New England.
“Coach [Bill] Belichick is a great coach and he has a way of finding talent, so obviously he saw something that I put on film that obviously can help the team, contribute to the team, to help them get another winning season,’’ he said.
One thing Ealy isn’t about to do is dwell on the past – even if that past includes one of the most memorable Super Bowl performances in history.
“The standards I hold for myself are to come in and impress the team by doing my job and showing that I’m a consistent worker, getting better each and every day,’’ he said. “I’m not too much concerned about the game I had two years ago or how last week went. It’s all about moving forward and getting better, and that’s what I’m look forward to doing.’’
Coleman signs tender
Cornerback Justin Coleman, one of the many candidates to replace Malcolm Butler if he leaves, signed his exclusive-rights tender, assuring he’ll be back with the Patriots in 2017 . . . Belichick, wearing a VII Rings sweatshirt, was spotted at Vanderbilt’s Pro Day Thursday with video of him tutoring linebacker Zach Cunningham making the rounds on Twitter.
#Patriots HC Belichick oversees LB drills with Zach. pic.twitter.com/XiP16Jr6sR— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) March 16, 2017
Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@globejimmcbride.