ALLEN PARK, Mich - This week's joint practices with the Lions serve as a bit of a homecoming for Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The All-American out of BYU was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Lions in 2014 and became a Patriot at the trade deadline in October of 2016. The Patriots gave up a sixth round pick for Van Noy plus a seventh round draft pick. The trade goes down as one of the best Bill Belichick has made as general manager of the Patriots.
"It's been a blessing. Yeah, kind of changed my whole life type of deal. It was a huge blessing," Van Noy said last year on the anniversary of his trade.
Today Van Noy reflected on what it's like to be back in Detroit.
"Feels good to come back a winner and say 'Hi' to people I haven't seen in a while," Van Noy said Monday after practice. "I'm happy to get to work and get to hang out with my teammates and see old faces, the behind the scenes people that don't get enough credit. There are so many I could just name behind the scenes people that have been so good to me and my family that I gotta show them love when I come back. They've been amazing to me and always have and always will be."
In 2016, Van Noy went from part-time player in Detroit to impact player for the Patriots almost overnight. His versatility has allowed him to become a starting fixture in the New England defense that has added two Super Bowl titles to it's resume since Van Noy's arrival.
In his two full seasons in Detroit, Van Noy accumulated 16 tackles and one sack. During the past two years in New England, he's made 165 tackles and had nine sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. By looking at a player like Van Noy, it becomes clear that the right fit and usage of a player are vital in getting the most out of each guy.
"Kyle's done a good job for us," Belichick said on Monday. "He fits well into our scheme. The scheme that he was in before I think was maybe not as good of a fit for him, similar to when we got [Roosevelt] Colvin from the Bears. Sometimes, some players just fit into one situation and one scheme better than another. Kyle's done a great job for us. He's smart, he's very instinctive, he does a good job with communication, he can call signals. We have multiple signal-callers on our defense, and that's a good thing that helps us with communication and adjustments. He's made a lot of big plays for us since we got him. I'm glad we have him. He's done a great job."
While Van Noy is thankful for the trade back in 2016, he wants it to be known that his ability has a lot to do with his success. With his contract expiring at the end of the 2019 season, it makes sense that the versatile defender advocates for himself.
"I don't want to sit here and tailor my skills and sit here - that would be like I'm only good for a certain scheme," Van Noy said. "I'm not going to go that route. Bill and when Matty P (Matt Patricia) was there and Flo (Brian Flores) and [Jerod] Mayo and all of these coaches I've played with in New England have put me in a spot to succeed, play to my strengths and put me in a position to succeed. I respect that and I'm happy to be a part of it. I would just leave it at that. I don't want to take away from my talent and my skill and my capabilities if I said that was the reason, if that makes sense."