I must admit, I keep holding a soft spot in my Patriots heart for Laurence Maroney. And he continually stomps all over that Patriots heart. How many times do I have to hear, from yet another Colts fan, how they're glad Polian took Joseph Addai over Laurence Maroney in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft (our friendly Colts blogger shake 'n bake is sharpening his pencil ;-)). A 21st pick overall, he's just never measured up to that draft position and the potential so many of us hoped he'd have.
I don't think he was a bad pick, mind you. If you look at the college stats in his bio, how could you not think he'd do great things: three 1,000 yard seasons, 3,933 yards rushing overall, 6.0 avg...picking him up at 21 seemed like a steal; it was almost absurd that noone grabbed him sooner. But college stats don't tell the whole story. As a Patriot, Laurence has struggled. Logging a mediocre 2006, his 2007 looked to be just as abysmal.
And this is where the soft spot comes in. Tom Brady asked for toys in the 2007 season and he got them. One of those toys was 6-4 and disenfranchised by Al Davis (aka: Skeletor) and the other was 5-9 and liked to kick a soccer ball around the locker room. Moss and Welker would become the stuff legends are made of. For the first half of 2007, most teams didn't know what hit them. The air assault was almost ridiculous at times with Brady seemingly connecting at will with his receivers. It was silly. And Maroney sat. The running game took a backseat to Brady and his band of high flyers. Laurence sat and waited, knowing if Belichick needed him, it was his job to be ready. He finally got the call. In the final six games of the Patriots' season, Maroney had four 100 yard games. When teams began scheming against the aerial assault, Maroney was asked to step up and he did. Thanks mate.
But that ended in 2008. With the addition of LaMont Jordan, I was ready for a massive ground assault, the kind that would shutup all the naysayers looking to stick it to the team that was almost...perfect. Oh yeah? No ground game? And then Maroney started his old habits. Next to Sammy Morris, Maroney appeared to "bounce" off the line rather than finding the holes and slicing through. Morris, despite being seven years his senior, seemed more decisive. With his shoulder injury in Game 3, Maroney got a reprieve, in my mind. Had he continued his indecisiveness through the rest of the season, I believe he would've been declared a bust.
I think Fred Taylor will give Maroney some serious competition for the #1 spot. He's the biggest of the backs AND the most experienced, which could help him now that he's at the twilight of his career; brains and experience over raw talent and youth. Whether or not Laurence Maroney is our franchise RB is up to Laurence. He must know he doesn't have long to prove it. Belichick has a short memory and I do believe Laurence's college stats are no longer occupying brain cells in Hoodie's head.
What have you done for me lately, Laurence? What have you done for me lately?