In Super Bowl 52, the New England Patriots will be facing a familiar face, as Chris Long lines up for the Philadelphia Eagles.
One of the losses the New England Patriots had in free agency this past offseason was that of Chris Long going to the Eagles. After winning a Super Bowl in New England, Long decided to sign with the Eagles, as he liked what their system on defense offered him.
As part of the Super Bowl winning Patriots last season, Long played well in New England. During the regular season, he was able to play in all 16 games, and he totaled four sacks. After a few down seasons with the Rams, Long bounced back nicely for the Patriots.
However, this season, Long played even better for the Eagles. According to Pro Football Focus, Long was graded as the 28th best edge defender in the league with an 83.3 overall grade. Recently, Bill Belichick spoke about Long to Bernd Buchmasser of PatsPulpit.com during a press conference. Here’s what he had to say about Long.
"“Chris has a lot of good skills, but his overall skill set and experience is probably more in – it definitely is more in the system that he’s in than it was in our system.”“He probably made a good decision,” continued Long’s former head coach. “If the team and the player make the right choice then it works out well.”"
As shown by the great season that he has had with the Eagles, Long is certainly thriving in Jim Schwartz’s defense. With getting pressure on Brady being one of the most important things for an opposing defense to accomplish, Long will certainly be tasked with that.
However, the Patriots’ offensive line should be used to seeing some of Long’s pass-rushing moves from his time there last season. Unfortunately, Long might also know a thing or two about what the Patriots will be trying to do offensively.
After a great season with the Eagles, the Patriots would have obviously loved to see that production for them this season. However, they will have to make sure they don’t let their former teammate beat them on Super Bowl Sunday.