Originally Posted by nashvillepatsfan
SAN JOSE, Calif. - There is something clearly bothering Laurence Maroney [stats]. It could be a bum shoulder or a crisis of confidence. It could be a personal matter weighing on him.
Perhaps, it could even be all of the above.
Whatever the reason, it has reached the point where it is affecting the running back’s performance on the field. Nothing better illustrates the point than when Maroney ran out of bounds, instead of surging ahead for a first down and taking on a tackle for that extra vital yard during the third quarter of Sunday’s 30-21 win over the 49ers.
Maroney, who was listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game in San Diego with a shoulder problem, yesterday summed up his less-than-glowing effort on that play this way: “I have my issues. There are reasons. I’d rather not speak about them. But there are reasons.”
It wasn’t a coincidence that running backs coach Ivan Fears was shown on TV, yapping in Maroney’s ear on the sideline after that play. Maroney, however, appears to be in such a fragile state right now he barely remembers that conversation.
“He really wasn’t yelling. I don’t know what he was saying. I really don’t remember,” Maroney said yesterday of the Fears encounter. “He really wasn’t yelling, though. TV is (tough), man.”
Maybe Maroney’s mindset had something to do with another scene that played out here Thursday, when he and coach Bill Belichick were engaged in a little one-on-one time on the way out to the field before the team’s morning walkthrough.
Whatever his “issues” are, the Pats have circled the wagons around Maroney. Belichick, for one, has been supportive, saying Maroney has been fine even if the numbers and physical evidence suggest otherwise.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also wasn’t in the mood to knock Maroney this week, even though his lead back has gained just 93 total yards this season and is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.
And yesterday, vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli essentially gave Maroney a thumbs-up, saying the organization was pleased with its 2006 first-round draft pick, citing his clutch 100-yard performances down the stretch last season.
Still, something’s not quite right.
While he also started slow last year before coming on strong, Maroney described the issue as being “a new one.”
Maroney is aware he is being criticized by the masses and that fans are getting impatient.
“You’re going to get criticism because . . . people really don’t know what it is,” Maroney said. “And, they don’t know what you’re dealing with. All they’re going to know is what you put out there on TV. So, you’re going to get criticism until they find out exactly what’s going on, and what’s the problem. I really don’t pay it no attention. I just keep doing what I can do and try to make the best out of it.”
He wouldn’t put blame on the fact he couldn’t get into a rhythm given the running back-by-committee approach. He also wouldn’t say he was confident he would be able to resolve the issue before season’s end.
“Well, all I can say is that I’m trying,” Maroney said. “That’s all I can do at the end of the day, no matter what the media say, how they perceive me, how the fans perceive me. At the end of the day, that’s all I can do. If I was out here not trying, that’s one thing. But I’m actually trying to do what I can do. So I don’t really care what everybody else says. The coaches know the issue. I know the issue. And we’re trying to make the issue better, if we can.”
I hope that's just talking about the shoulder problem but it doesn't sound like it. Being perpetually dinged up is the lot of the running back and he has yet to show he can play through it.
I'm not saying he's a wuss or anything like that but... he just doesn't have a high enough pain threshold it seems.