One day after the Patriots were pushed around on the defensive front by a new-look Dolphins offensive line that led the way for 191 yards rushing in Miami's 33-20 opening day upset, some were wondering whether veteran Tommy Kelly might have been able to help New England had he not been released earlier this summer.
According to a report from ESPN out of Arizona that actually came out last week, the veteran defensive tackle may have requested his release when he was uncertain with what his role was going to be with the Patriots. The report says that Kelly "kinda asked" for his release that subsequently allowed him to sign with the Cardinals.
"I saw what was going on," Kelly told ESPN of the way he was being used in practice and preseason action this summer in New England. "I mean, you're starting me, but you're taking me out. I don't know why you're taking me out. I had a situation with my deal and I saw what he was doing, so I got on my agent and we got together and I was just happy."
Kelly, who is coming back from a torn ACL that cost him all but five games in his first and only season with the Patriots last fall, is confident that at the age of 33 he can still get the job done on the defensive line in Arizona.
"I think I can do anything you need me to do," Kelly said. "I can stop the run. I definitely can rush the passer."
The Patriots probably could have used both of those skill Sunday afternoon in Miami where the team's undersized 3-4 front – second-year undrafted player Joe Vellano and third-year pass rusher Chandler Jones saw the bulk of the action at the end spots flanking Vince Wilfork – got the wrong end of the battle in the trenches.
Many have wondered how it was that Kelly wasn't one of the best options for Bill Belichick's line in New England. Now we at least know that Kelly felt he was being phased out of the defensive front and asked to be let go to find a job elsewhere. Why that feeling came about and why New England acquiesced to the veteran's request are things we may never know.