The New England Patriots defensive tackle situation went from being a weakness going into the offseason to potentially becoming a strength now that the Patriots have signed Armond Armstead and Tommy Kelly. At least one of those two is going to be the interior pass rusher the Patriots really need, and there is a better chance that both succeed than the chance of both failing. Armstead has been valued by many as a second-round pick, while Kelly was a very good interior pass rusher for the Oakland Raiders who merely suffered a down year last season. Kelly isn’t what he used to be, but there’s evidence that he’s still a good player and that a change of scenery will significantly help him.
According to Kelly, part of the reason why the Patriots were able to sign him is because of the opportunity to play next to one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL- Vince Wilfork. The big DT is still playing at an elite level, and his ability to eat up blocks against the pass, dominate against the run, and his increased stamina and quickness have allowed him to continue to flourish. Kelly’s pass rushing ability will be greatly helped by Wilfork, because Wilfork will eat up the blockers next to him and free up the fellow veteran DT. It’s going to be a great relationship, and I’m sure Kelly realizes the value of this.
“You get to the end of your career, you get the opportunity to play with a real good team like New England — it came down to a couple teams — but I guess after talking with Coach [Bill] Belichick and then just the opportunity to play with Vince,” Kelly said on Patriots Today. “You wanna play with someone that can play. You know, you always watch people who play your position. I mean, he’s a real good player. A hell of a player.”
Richard Seymour was an incredible player for the New England Patriots, and Kelly added that Seymour’s comments on the Patriots also aided Kelly’s decision to choose the Patriots this offseason. Both players starred for the Oakland Raiders on the defensive line, and hopefully Kelly can have a solid impact on the Patriots pass rush in 2013.
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