Patriots gridiron news: Malcom Brown anchors the defense with leadership

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcom Brown
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcom Brown /

New England Patriots defensive lineman Malcom Brown has developed into a leader on and off the field for the defending Super Bowl champions.

He is not quite Vince Wilfork, but third-year defensive lineman Malcom Brown has developed into a steady player for the New England Patriots and is displaying the type of leadership on and off the field that made him the team’s No. 1 pick back in 2015.

With 47 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks entering Week 16, the 6-foot-2, 320-pound product out of Texas has matured into a reliable performer in the center of the defense.  With fellow defensive tackle Alan Branch struggling this season, the importance of Brown really showed when he missed three games this season.

Now, back in the mix, Brown has earned acknowledgement from head coach Bill Belichick who praised his hard work getting back in the groove of the game.

"“Malcom’s worked hard this year,” Belichick said during his Tuesday press conference.  “He, unfortunately, missed a couple of weeks there in the middle of the season as he was, I think, really kind of getting into a good weekly groove, and then had to take a little break before he was able to get back to that.  I’d say it happened relatively quickly but, still, there’s a process of playing after having not played which he had to work out and go through.”More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win"

Belichick went on to point out the amount of leadership Malcom Brown has showed in making his way back on the field.  Despite not being able to contribute on the field, the 23-year-old defensive tackle stayed involved with the team and the defensive game plan from week to week.  That involvement made his path back on the playing field an easy one.

Although the overall defense still struggles at times, Brown at least secures the middle of the line and give the team an interior toughness that will be crucial during the playoffs.

James Harrison no longer the oldest

One team’s loss is another team’s gain.

On Tuesday, the Patriots officially announced the signing of 39-year-old veteran linebacker James Harrison to a one-year deal.  In a move many people saw coming, Harrison’s release from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week set up the union between two of the older players in the league.

No longer the oldest player on his team, Harrison joked about 40-year-old teammate Tom Brady.

As the two have met in the offensive back field on many occasions, both players are hoping to lead their units to the team’s 10th Super Bowl berth and sixth championship. 

Patriots release linebacker Trevor Reilly

To make room for the James Harrison signing, the New England Patriots have cut LB Trevor Reilly from the 53-man roster.

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Reilly, who has spent most of his time on the team’s practice squad, appeared in six games this season.  As a backup linebacker and special teams contributor, Reilly racked up 10 tackles.  It would not be a surprise if he ended back on the practice squad if he clears waivers.