Ranking the top Free Agent and Rookie additions at the Half Way Point
By Andrew Meyer
4. Chris Long
Coming over during the offseason from the St. Louis Rams (or now the Los Angeles Rams), Long was expected to bring a new dimension to the Patriots pass rush. With only 1 sack so far it may seem disappointing.
Since the Patriots have been relying on a 3 man rush and good coverage to cause mistakes there haven’t been many opportunities for Long to show his skill. This has hurt Long’s numbers as he hasn’t been able to fully pursue the quarterback. On the bright side Long has accounted for a fumble recovery, which may not sound like much, but highlights his effort to get on the ball and make a play for the team.
While his sack number is not very high he showed increased activity this past week with a season high 4 solo tackles to add to his total of 13 on the season. With the return of Nickovich, Long was expected to get more rest but injuries to Vincent Valentine have kept him in. Hopefully with a bye week to heal the Patriots will get back to a regular rotation, giving a rested Long more chances at the quarterback.
An area where Long has gone beyond expectations is his media availability. He usually provides comedic relief such as his Julian Edelman mask to keep the mood light. In general he has fallen into line with the Patriot way. This means working to avoid comparisons to the Rams and focusing on his job with the Pats.
Looking forward expect Long to to add to his sack total in the second half of the season. It is unlikely Belichick is happy with his pass rush, and that means changes. This bodes well for Long.