NFL 2011 Free Agents: New England's Marcus Stroud, a Player Coach for Young Guns

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NFL 2011 Free Agents: New England's Marcus Stroud, a Player Coach for Young Guns
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Marcus Stroud Chasing Big Ben--This year for the Pats!

Marcus Stroud comes to town with impeccable credentials: Pro Bowls, team player, articulate, smart, and well known as an AFC opponent from the Buffalo Bills. In other words, the perfect Patriot!

Stroud comes to town talking about Defense as a team effort. The New England Patriots need more than one Pass Rushing Stud to get to the quarterback. As Marcus Stroud said, "We need the defensive backs to make the quarterback look twice."

Then they can get to him. Without the double team of Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling, it would have made it tougher on even a rookie stud pass rusher. Stroud basically has said it starts with the cornerbacks. If they slow the quarterback down enough to have to do second and third reads, the defense can get to him. Otherwise they can't.

Wisdom from an All-Pro who has had more than his share of sacks, hits and rushes.

The New England Patriots showed clearly their respect for their young defense by letting them gel without inserting another rookie on the defensive line. Marcus Stroud was an excellent choice so as to add maturity, not threaten young players with even a younger one, and seeking some age balance. Of course, Stroud can remind you a bit of Rodney Harrison who famously said,"I've never been part of nothing like this," as he shook his head in wonderment.

Stroud will probably react the same way. He seems to be a good listener and talented talker like Harrison. Patriot fans love to listen to their players, and Harrison was superb listening to a question and talented in answering it.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Captain Harrison trapping another unlucky quarterback!

On one of the Super Bowl DVDs, Belichick is shown hugging Harrison, even lifting him off the ground, a very uncharacteristic move, while saying, "I am glad we got you." Harrison sucked it in with obvious pleasure.

Then Belchick said, "But we have one more." "Yes, sir," said Harrison. The old veteran loved the moment but knew he had to get back to reality for the one more game he would help the team win. "Yes sir" was his code phrase for, "Thanks, but I am back to being a 100 percent player again."

Vince Wilfork has grown (can Wilfork grow any more?) into a calm measured veteran presence. Stroud can only help support that authority. Wilfork's draft day party is a wonderfully supportive event for the team and the rookies. The veterans show, by attending the party, that they care about who is going to join the team, what is going on in the minds of their organization, and just having some fun too.

When I read and listened to Wilfork's words, and later Stroud's, I believed they will be totally complementary to each other.

I did not get this on Draft Day, or should I say, Draft Days?  In any event, they got Nate Solder because they needed Matt Light's replacement because of the Patriots dislike of strong union voices (remember Mike Vrabel being put on a bus out of town for almost nothing? And winding up the Union head for his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs?) and the potential big money contract Light could demand and will get somewhere.

I whiffed on that ball. What did veteran Wilfork say? Essentially he said, I don't know why the team chose an offensive tackle. But in Bill I trust and that is their job, not mine. A wise and veteran thing to say.

It seems that Stroud is their answer on the defensive line. Very interesting. Missed that one but that's what makes Bleacher Report so much fun to read.

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