FOXBORO — The New England Patriots have yet to fill their defensive coordinator position left vacant after Greg Schiano stepped away from the team before he was even officially announced as the play-caller.
The Boston Globe reported last week that the rumor mill was murmuring that head coach Bill Belichick would be calling the defensive plays this season. Patriots safety Duron Harmon said if that’s the case, the team will be just fine.
“I mean, like, Coach Belichick is Coach Belichick,” Harmon said. “If he’s calling the plays, I think we’re going to be all right.
“I don’t know who’s calling the plays, obviously, you know, we’re still about to get into OTAs,” Harmon added, “but at the end of the day, Coach Belichick is going to have a great plan. He’s going to make sure we’re ready to go. And whether it’s him or somebody else, I think we’re going to be all right.”
Harmon said he thought the media attention and the title of the job was getting overblown.
“For sure,” Harmon said. “I mean, you got to think about it. This man called the defense for the (New York) Giants and they won two Super Bowls. (He) coached Lawrence Taylor and stuff. So, I think if he’s calling the plays, we’ll be all right.”
Harmon busy off the field
Working with a group of Patriot teammates including Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Matthew Slater, Harmon has spent time this offseason advocating for Massachusetts education funding reform.
Harmon visited the State House twice with the group, showing his support for the PROMISE Act, which hopes to impact funding for public schools. Most recently, Harmon Tracy Elementary in Lynn.
“The disparity between one public school and another public school was just mind-boggling,” Harmon said. “My son goes to a public school — he goes to Elm Street School in Walpole — and to see the resources that he has and then see the resources that Tracy Elementary School has, it was crazy.
“I didn’t understand how a school literally 30 miles away could be doing so bad based on resources, and my son’s school could be flourishing so much. I’m just trying to bring light to that, because it’s my job,” Harmon said.
“As a football player, we always talk about you want to be the best football player you can be,” Harmon continued. “But at the end of the day, God blessed me with this platform to be able to help others and bring awareness to situations that might not get the spotlight and the limelight it needs.”
Thuney enters final year of rookie deal
New England Patriot left guard Joe Thuney enters the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie contract. It’s a position that may be new for him, but not the Patriots as the same came about last year with right guard Shaq Mason. Mason came to an agreement on a contract extension last August.
“I’m just focused on what I control, and I’m just focused on being here,” Thuney said when asked if he would be interested in getting an extension done before the season started. “I love New England, it’s been awesome here and just trying to improve, get better and get ready for the season.”
A third-round pick in 2016, Thuney has not missed a start for the Patriots. He played every offensive snap last year.
“I love it here,” Thuney said. “It’s great. The organization’s been awesome, teammates have been awesome. So absolutely no complaints from me.”
Thuney has been a key piece to the interior line with center David Andrews and Mason. The trio will be going into its fourth straight year together in 2019.“We feel really comfortable with each other and see the game the same way and understand what’s going to be called before it’s even said,” Thuney said.
McCourty twins to speak at Rutgers
Twin brothers Devin and Jason McCourty will be the keynote speakers at the Rutgers University graduation this weekend, but Harmon said he did not have much advice as the pair gets ready to speak at both his and their almamater.
“Those guys got it,” Harmon said. “Dev and J, they’re tremendous human beings. I told them if you just speak from the heart, they’ll be good. What they’ve been through, their journey to the NFL is different, but they had bumps along the road and it made them who they are. They’re tremendous activists in the community.”
The Patriots will begin OTAs next week.