The New England Patriots have made a habit out of living in the postseason for the better part of two decades, so it makes perfect sense that most of the league’s “best postseason players” over that time have likely resided on this roster for at least a year or two.
Turns out, according to Pro Football Focus, one of them just made his way back to New England after a brief sojourn elsewhere.
When the Patriots re-signed Kyle Van Noy, everybody immediately saw the value in the homecoming. He’s a player who’s never looked as good, or been utilized as well, as during his time with Bill Belichick.
Once it was clear he’d become dissatisfied with ex-Pats assistant Brian Flores, this was a move you had to make.
Van Noy holds things down in coverage and is a phenomenal clubhouse presence, but most importantly, he has a knack for getting to the quarterback, especially with everything on the line.
Presuming Dont’a Hightower’s return helps the Patriots get back to the playoffs and clears a path for KVN, that’s when he’ll really shine.
Yes, the former scrap heap pickup made good is the best playoff pass rusher in the league since 2018.
Patriots pass rusher Kyle Van Noy is the postseason’s best.
What’s even more impressive? Van Noy made basically all his hay in the 2018 postseason, racking up a pair of sacks in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City, then adding one of Jared Goff for good measure in the middle of a defensive masterclass of a Super Bowl.
He also picked up a sack in Tom Brady’s ill-fated playoff finale against Tennessee, and an epic Dolphins collapse removed a chance to add to those statistics at the last second before he departed for Navy Blue pastures this offseason.
Of course, to get to the postseason, this Patriots team will have to overcome plenty, from depth chart questions to disrespect.
Though Van Noy’s return marked one of many instances this offseason where players in search of cash chose the Patriots, count ESPN among those who still don’t expect the roster blitz to be enough to send New England to January.
Whether or not you believe in the Pats this year with Cam Newton under center, you have to admit they went back to a lot of their winning postseason strategies. Players like Hightower and Van Noy, who step up when the wind is coldest, are back. On offense, Bill Belichick even decided to dust off the old two-tight end playbook, which has always been a winning playoff formula.
Advanced coaching and some good, old-fashioned clutch performers? Don’t say we and PFF didn’t warn you.