If anyone knows how to stop a high-powered offense in the New England Patriots, you’re going to have to go right to an insightful source to find that answer.
Unfortunately for a tight-knit organization led by Bill Belichick-the master of secrets, there aren’t a lot of those guys who have that kind of information to hand out.
But WNST’s own Thyrl Nelson caught up with a guy who used to line up in the backfield behind the Patriots future Hall-of-Famer in quarterback Tom Brady in running back Laurence Maroney on Thursday.
Maroney, who was a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2006 out of Minnesota, is currently a free agent and is anxiously trying to work his way back onto an NFL team for next year.
Having been a part of Patriot-style offenses in New England and Denver run by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, he knows the team very well.
Nelson asked Maroney how the Ravens should handle the Patriots if he was a consultant, and Maroney had a quick answer.
You have go get Tom Brady out of rhythm by bringing the pressure on the blitz.
“The first thing to do is really blitz and keep Brady uncomfortable,” Maroney told Nelson. “He’s going to sit there and read defenses and get comfortable. He can pick you apart once the momentum’s going and the lineman get going.”
Maroney said it was his role as Patriots back to be the final nail in the coffin for opposing defenses.
“That’s what starts the running game and it just starts to trickle down.”
But at the same time though, Maroney told Raven nation to understand this. John Harbaugh and Chuck Pagano may have the greatest defensive game-plan available to them, but Tom Brady is going to make some plays just because of his game smarts and preparation.
“Brady is one of the smartest…if not the smartest quarterback that I’ve played with,” Maroney said. “He’s just going to sit there if you give him time with the type of receivers and tight ends he has. They’re going to find a way to get open. And he’s going to find a way to get them the ball.”
Obviously as a running back, Maroney pushed across the idea of pacing the game for the Ravens by handing the ball off to Ray Rice in the second half should the Ravens jump ahead.
“Ray Rice is definitely a great running back,” Maroney said, “that’s definitely a proven guy in this league. It’s going to be difficult-especially the wild card game that I was last with them-and he definitely showed when he broke the game out when he ran for 80 yards that he’s a game-changer. If you don’t control that guy, he’s definitely going to do his thing.”
If the Ravens are on their game, Maroney says-you can’t ever count them out.
“You can never overlook the Ravens cause you can tell the history,” Maroney said. “This is a team you can’t count out, especially with their defense. They have one of the best defenses that you can’t overlook them and you have to be ready and prepared for that game.”
And who knows-with Ray Rice scheduled to be a free agent and the uncertainty regarding the future career of backup running back Ricky Williams, could the Ravens maybe be interested in the seldom-used, 26-year first-round pick?
He’ll welcome any opportunity to prove himself yet again to an NFL team.
“I just want a job,” Maroney said. “I just want to get back in the league.”
“I’m only 26 years old. I’m still young-this would have only been my sixth-year in the league. I’ve got the fresh legs. I still have a lot to offer to the league.”
WNST thanks Laurence Maroney for joining Thyrl Nelson this week in preparation for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game! Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the full conversation! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!