The New England Patriots, who are currently in their middle of their 2019 preseason, have 89 players on their active roster at the moment. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title.
Today, the series continues with one New England’s defensive linemen.
Name: Lawrence Guy
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: 93
Opening day age: 29
Size: 6’4, 315 lbs.
2018 review: Coming off his first season with the Patriots, Lawrence Guy was able to make the famous second-year jump and turn himself into an integral member of New England’s defense — and, in fact, one of the better defensive tackles in all of football. After all, he stood out as a run defender and also produced the best pass-rushing season of his eight-year career since joining the league as a seventh-round draft pick in 2011.
All in all, Guy was as reliable a player as they come. Playing in all sixteen of the Patriots’ regular season games, he was the team’s number one option at defensive tackle: moving primarily between the 3-technique and 5-technique positions — depending on the front New England was running — Guy was on the field for 519 of a possible 1,043 defensive snaps (49.8%) between weeks one and seventeen.
The playoffs were more of the same for the former career-journeyman, who played for four different teams before arriving in New England in 2017. Guy was on the field for all three of the Patriots’ postseason contests and again saw considerable action: while his playing time decreased when compared to the regular season, he still played 37.2% of the team’s possible defensive snaps (70 of 188) and performed well whenever called upon.
As a run defender, Pro Football Focus’ eleventh highest ranked interior defensive lineman registered 57 tackles — including a team-high 9 stuffed runs — as well as a forced fumble. Against the pass, meanwhile, Guy also posted some solid albeit not exactly spectacular numbers: he registered a combined 18.5 quarterback disruptions; Guy has 1.5 sacks on his 2018 résumé as well as 13 hits and an additional 4 hurries.
Despite his pass-rushing numbers not standing out, the veteran defender was serviceable in the best way. He did whatever job he was asked to do, not just on defense: Guy also was a valuable member of New England’s kicking game units. Playing primarily on the team’s field goal and extra point blocking units, but also seeing some action on punt returns, he was on the field for a combined 202 regular season and playoff snaps (of 545; 371.%).
Needless to say that 2018 was quite a successful year for Lawrence Guy, not just in terms of playing time and being a core member of New England’s defense — he also became a Super Bowl champion for the first time.
2019 preview: Even though the Patriots might move away a bit from their base 4-3 alignment to more 3-4 looks, Guy is again expected to see considerable action as a starter along the club’s defensive line. He has the size and experience to play both as a 4-3 tackle and as a 3-4 end, after all, and proved himself capable of adapting to various roles both as a pass rusher and a run defender. 2019 should essentially be more of the same.
No matter where he lines up, however, Guy should again be a reliable and regularly used presence on defense and special teams. Will he earn the Pro Bowl recognition he may deserve? Probably not considering that other defensive tackles are making more headlines than the soft-spoken 29-year-old. That does mean that Guy isn’t an important member of New England’s defense, however, because he certainly is just that.