Morning links: Van Noy’s pass coverage skills could lead to breakout season; McMahon counting down to BYU football

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald caught up with Kyle Van Noy and discussed the development of the former BYU Cougar this offseason, including his growth in pass coverage.

“Van Noy is passionate and energetic, and he exudes both qualities on the field,” wrote Howe. “He is also loyal, and his teammates appreciate the way in which Van Noy dedicates himself to their cause.”

After talking about Van Noy’s time with the Detroit Lions and how he ended up with New England, Howe talked about how the Patriots used the 2014 second-round pick.

“Van Noy was used as a rotational player upon his insertion to the lineup in November and ultimately grew into a starting-caliber role down the stretch,” Howe wrote. “It was a testament to his work ethic because Van Noy spent hours at the facility with Dont’a Hightower to watch film and soak up his defensive assignments.”

Howe continued, “The Patriots recognized Van Noy’s talent and had to put him in positions to succeed, so they typically fielded him in passing situations to give him a chance to chase the quarterback or fall into coverage if necessary.”

After talking about how he performed in those situations, Howe turned his attention to how Van Noy has done in training camp, saying, “He broke up five passes in team drills over the course of 14 live practices. For some context, the rest of the linebackers didn’t break up any.”

Howe then talked about what else Van Noy provides when on the field, saying, “Van Noy’s greatest strength is probably his ability to get after the quarterback, and the Patriots will ask him to do plenty of that this season. But he’ll potentially remain on the field as much as any linebacker except Hightower because he is versatile enough to play any of their linebacker positions.”

Van Noy wasn’t the only former Cougar linebacker in the news as Harvey Langi was mentioned (along with Van Noy), as a candidate in some open position battles heading into the Patriots second preseason game.

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