Kyle Van Noy is often one of the less appreciated members of the New England Patriots defense. Some years, he is running the huddle, relaying plays as the inside linebacker. Other years, he’s a part of a deep rotation of versatile linebackers, which limits his snap count.
In whatever role Van Noy gets, he’s consistent, though not always flashy. He has 28 tackles and two sacks during the 2021 season when he has played 68% of snaps. He has been a core member of the defense, as the ninth-highest graded defender (among players with 60+ snaps) on Pro Football Focus, a digital scouting service. He has been league average at run defense, tackling, pass-rusher and above average in coverage, per PFF. That’s a useful combination of skills for a linebacker in Bill Belichick’s defense.
It was fitting in the Patriots’ Week 10 win over the Cleveland Browns that Van Noy made a play that went under the radar. He nearly generated a turnover, with a forced fumble that linebacker Josh Uche clumsily failed to recover. Van Noy broke up a screen play for Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson. The linebacker fought off his block and poked the ball away from the back. The Brows, however, recovered the ball after the Patriots squandered the opportunity.
Here’s a look of the breakdown of the play,
Sorry it took longer than usual this year by I see you know a football player when you see one appreciate it!
— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) November 15, 2021
Van Noy was clearly stoked to see someone appreciating the subtleties of his game.