FOXBOROUGH — Kyle Van Noy has served in a number of roles for the Patriots since arriving in New England midway through the 2016 season.
The veteran linebacker has grown from part-time player to central figure on a defense that has earned back-to-back Super Bowl berths, including one championship.
Van Noy is a three-down player who has flashed the ability to defend the edge, drop in coverage, rush the quarterback, and turn in some clutch plays.
His 27 tackles are second on the team and he’s also registered a couple of momentum-changing plays, including his fumble recovery in a win over the Dolphins that snapped the Patriots’ two-game losing streak.
“Kyle has a lot of versatility for us,’’ Bill Belichick said last week. “He can do all of the things really that a linebacker needs to do. Play the run, rush the passer, play in coverage. He does a good job at all of them.’’
Despite his solid play, Van Noy is often targeted by critics for the slightest perceived struggles. He’s actually OK with that. What Van Noy isn’t OK with, is when people take unwarranted shots at him personally.
Such was the case last month on the heels of New England’s loss to the Jaguars, when Van Noy was criticized on the “Felger and Mazz” radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“I don’t like him,’’ Michael Felger said. “To me, it’s personal. I’ve never met him, but every time he opens his mouth, I’m like, ‘You’re a tool. You’re an ass.’ Every time I hear him talk I’m like, ‘Where did that attitude come from? You [stink]. And if it wasn’t for this team, you’d be covering punts in Detroit. You [stink]. Where do you get that attitude?’’
The attack didn’t sit well with Van Noy.
“I don’t really care what people say about my play, honestly,’’ he said. “You can’t get mad at them, you just kind of laugh. But when they come at your personality or think they know who you are — to me that’s crazy. Especially when they wouldn’t say it to my face.’’
On Monday, Van Noy will be serving in another role — literally.
That’s when Van Noy and his wife, Marissa, are hosting their second annual “Celebrity Server Night” to benefit the Van Noy Valor Foundation, which helps adopted, disadvantaged, and foster children.
“The foundation is dear to me because of the situation in my life, I’m adopted, my wife and her father and her brother also were adopted, so adoption has had a big impact on our lives,’’ Van Noy said. “We’ve dealt with foster care and then the other pillar in our foundation is struggling youth in the community because they’re our future and they deserve an opportunity like everyone else. We’re just trying to strengthen them for success.’’
About 15-20 of Van Noy’s teammates will help in serving food to the event’s attendees. The Van Noys will be providing Christmas trees, decorations, and presents for 253 families with the proceeds.
“We’re doing that because Christmas is huge in our home and we just want to give people the same opportunity that we get,’’ said Van Noy.
The foundation started by helping 53 families (Van Noy’s number) and has been steadily growing.
“Hopefully we can up to 553,’’ he said.
DL Brown out
The Patriots were without one of their main men in the middle Sunday night when starting defensive tackle Malcom Brown was among the inactives.
Brown, who injured his knee in the Week 5 win over the Colts, was limited in practice all week.
Brown was one of four defensive linemen who didn’t suit up, including John Simon (shoulder), Geneo Grissom (ankle), and Keionta Davis. Simon and Grissom were limited in practice.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson and offensive linemen Ted Karras and Cole Croston rounded out the inactives.
Derek Rivers, a speed rusher off the edge, was active and could be used to help track down speedy Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Also returning to action was cornerback Eric Rowe, who had missed the last three weeks as he rehabbed a groin injury.
The Chiefs were without several defensive stalwarts, including safeties Eric Berry and Eric Murray, linebackers Justin Houston and Tanoh Kpassagnon, and defensive end Justin Hamilton.
First on the field
Julian Edelman was the first Patriot on the field, going through his pregame routine about 3½ hours before kickoff . . . Mahomes was the first Chief to emerge from the locker room. His pregame throwing ritual is fun to watch and many watched it the way they watch a home run hitter take batting practice. Mahomes’s zip is unreal and he was routinely throwing the ball 40-50 yards on the run with a simple flick of the wrist. “He’s very good throwing on the run. He can get out of the pocket, see receivers down the field and across the field,’’ Belichick said on his pregame radio appearance on 98.5. “We really have to work to finish our plays against this guy . . . Belichick was impressed with Edelman’s work on punt returns in his debut against the Colts. “Yeah, we started to show some signs of life on that,’’ he said. “We could certainly use some more of those.’’ . . . The Patriots are 10-7-2 at home vs. the Chiefs and those include games at Boston University, Fenway Park, Boston College, Schaefer/Foxboro Stadium, and Gillette Stadium.