With nothing happening the past few days, I thought I’d give a perspective look at Patriots Runningback Laurence Maroney.
I was really rooting for the Patriots to draft Laurence Maroney on draft day 2006. Every year, I pick a few players that I really want the Patriots to draft. In 2003, it was Larry Johnson. In 2004, it was Steven Jackson and Vince Wilfork. In 2005, it was Mark Clayton. Last year, it was Laurence Maroney and Stephen Gostkowski. I never actually thought the Patriots would draft Maroney, but when they did, I gave estatic a new definition. Shamefully, I admit that I was whooping and running around my living room, as most of New England gave a puzzled look, and asked themselves, “who is this guy?” I remember watching PVN later that night, seeing the Patriots draft day party, and seeing everyone getting pissed off because they had never heard of the guy.
After Maroney was drafted, people started wondering what would happen between him and Corey Dillon. Most NFL experts predicted that Maroney would get 5-10 carries a game off the bench. But after a 15 carry, 125 yard performance against Cincinatti, it was clear that Maroney was the future. The other question was, how would Corey Dillon take it? It turned out, that he took it fine, as the two split carries the rest of the way. But as Maroney’s workload went up, it seemed like his production went down. He seemed to be getting caught in the backfield, doing too much shifting, and not enough north-south running.
In the offseason, it was learned that is cut-off in production was do to a nagging shoulder injury. Before the 2007 draft, Maroney got surgery on his shoulder. Going into training camp, there were big worries about his health and his ability to carry the entire offensive running game.
Maroney wore a red “non-contact” jersey for more than half of training camp, before suiting up on August 24th against the Panthers. In the preseason contest, Maroney showed flashes, going 11 carries for 44 yards. Still, that was only the preseason, and he still needed to prove himself once the regular season started.
In the season opener against the Jets, Maroney showed that he could be the feature back, carrying the ball over 20 times for the fisrt time in his career. And in week this past sunday against the Bills, Maroney proved his worth, running over 100 yards for the second time in his career. So far this year, LoMo, or Koolaid, has 252 yards on 54 carries, good for a 4.7 ypc average.
Although it is still too early to tell if his career wlill be great, through three weeks of the 2007 season, Maroney looks like he is the man at runningback.