Van Noy appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak and Bertrand this morning and he had much to say about the new and improved defense. When asked if he thought the defense was in a better spot to start this season than last, when they gave up 42 points to the Kansas City Chiefs, Van Noy laughed and said "You think?!?!" The Pats gave up 20 points in Week 1 to a high powered Texans team that features Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, a duo many think will terrify NFL defenses for years to come.
Growth/Continuity of the young defense
One of the big themes for Van Noy in the interview was the growth and contintuity of a defense featuring new lineman, a rookie linebacker, and young corners. He said their main goal was to "win games and have fun" and it shows on film and on the field. He felt that they were "playing fast" in Week 1, flying all over the field and containing Watson.
Van Noy mentioned that the defense is full of "guys [who] get slept on a lot" and they were eager to prove themselves.
Defensive playcaller Brian Flores
Van Noy was asked about linebacker coach/defensive play caller Brian Flores, and what he brings to the table. The second-year Patriot had to stop and think. "Communication" was the first thing that came to mind. "He can get after guys when needed, and compliment them when needed." Van Noy said the defense under Flores plays aggressive -- see ESPN's graphic below on bringing quarterback pressure -- and they "want to play hard for him." Sounds like an outstanding endorsement for the man auditioning for defensive coordinator position.
Number one corner Stephon Gilmore
Another man Van Noy has a high opinion of is Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore is the Patriots new number one corner and he showed it last week against the Texans. He was very tough against Hopkins and picked off Watson in the endzone. "Oh, he's lockdown!" exclaimed Van Noy at the mention of Gilmore's name. The linebacker continued: "He got paid hella money, might as well do something with it, right, by locking people up." Gilmore signed a five year, $64 million contract prior to this season.
Van Noy himself had three tackles in Week 1, including a stuff for a seven-yard loss.