The New England Patriots acquired defensive end Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers this offseason. What advice did his former coach give him?
It has been a busy offseason for the New England Patriots. Just after winning their fifth Super Bowl, they knew they would have some tough decisions to make regarding personnel.
Shortly after winning the Super Bowl, Chris Long made it clear that he wasn’t going to be returning to the Patriots. Long had a great season for New England in 2016, as he was one of the best defensive ends in the league at getting pressure on the quarterback. Even though Long only had four sacks, he was a hassle for opposing offensive tackles to block.
With Long making his departure clear, the Patriots made a deal to acquire Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers. The deal essentially let the Patriots acquire Ealy for moving down slightly in the NFL Draft from the end of the second round into the beginning of the third.
Recently, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talked about Ealy. Here’s what he said Ealy must do to be successful in New England.
"“More than anything else is just really do what he’s told,” Rivera said to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I think being around a program like what coach (Bill) Belichick has established in New England will be really good for him. I think it will be an opportunity for him to grow and take another step. I think it’s a good situation. I really do. The biggest thing, more than anything else, is do things the way coach Belichick wants them done.”"
Ealy didn’t live up to the Panthers’ expectations for him as a second round pick, but he has proven to be a good pass-rusher. With Long leaving, Ealy should be able to fill in his role nicely in the Patriots’ defensive end rotation.
Furthermore, the Patriots’ use of defensive ends in certain situations has really helped them succeed defensively. Ealy may not total a huge sack number with the Patriots, but he should be able to thrive for them in 2017.