It was hard to miss Lawrence Guy's return to action against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday night. After being noticeably absent against the New York Jets, Guy battled through three different injuries to face his former team and the result was an excellent defensive performance that set the tone early and often against Baltimore's vaunted attack.
"It's a part of football," said Guy on Thursday afternoon via Webex of fighting through the injuries. "You get those bumps and bruises and you have to recover and that's what I had to do. I missed the [Jets] game, did some good recovery so I could go back out there and compete at a high-level. You never wanna be out there knowing that you can't give it your all."
Did it help going against a former team? Guy laughed.
"That's how the dice rolled, that I was good enough to go play," said Guy with a smile. "It was pretty fun. Playing them back-to-back years was pretty exciting."
"[Lawrence is] physically and mentally one of the tougher players that I've coached, certainly one of those on the team," said head coach Bill Belichik earlier this week. "He's a great example to younger players in terms of just having the mental toughness to go out there and compete and work every day. That's how you get better."
Getting better is something Guy has done almost continuously since arriving on a free agent deal. In just three seasons, Guy found himself named to the Patriots All-Decade team for the 2010s last spring, finally representing the matchup piece along the defensive line that Bill Belichick had lacked since Vince Wilfork departed.
Four years into his Patriots tenure, Guy has emerged as one of the key leaders on the Patriots, both on the field and off it, including being voted captain this season.
"I mean, everybody looks up to him as they should, because of the example he sets and in the way he carries himself," said Belichick. "He's not real loud or a guy who says a lot, but when he talks, everybody listens and he's on the money and he has a great message because it's always about the team and how to help the team win. "
Now, with former Ravens teammate Carl Davis in the mix, the Patriots have some depth to play with around Guy, and it should enable them to maximize his impact. The trickle down effect could be huge for the defensive front.
"It's good to have [Lawrence] around because we can communicate about a lot of things and I think that's going to help us moving forward in games," said Davis this week. "Just because we played in a lot of games together and I think we both understand each other's style of play and what needs to be executed."
Together, Guy and Davis will have their hands full this weekend with Deshaun Watson and the Texans, but if they can build on the play they showed against the Ravens, good things are ahead for the Patriots defense.
Webex Quotes of Note
Jason McCourty on watching the young players rise up:
"It's awesome. As an older guy you celebrate those things. You continue to build those guys up and I think at the same time, you continue to challenge them. If you look at King Dugg, goes out there this past Sunday and has a big game from the early part of the game setting the tone centimeters on one of the tougher guys on their team. And he played strong fast and physical the entire game and I think this week, you challenge him, you put that on film one week, okay, how do we build consistency?
Cam Newton on his development with Josh McDaniels:
"He has a plethora of plays for certain defenses that we face that he goes to. It all starts before the snap, with the identifying certain things, identifying and communicating with the offensive line, with the receivers, with the running backs and it's my job to do so. Coming back from when I did come back, I just felt behind. The production here of late is nothing to blame other than me just taking ownership and responsibility that I just got to be better."
Josh Uche on his development this season:
"I've just been trusting the process. Just trusting in what my coaches have been teaching me and just doing what's asked of me. Coach Steve always says, 'Rome wasn't built in a day.' Just taking it day-by-day, brick-by-brick, just trying to get better every day."