|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Kevin Faulk, one of the all-time Patriots’ greats, retired Tuesday at a press conference at The Hall at Patriot Place. Faulk hangs up his cleats at the age of 36 after 13 seasons playing for the Patriots. This offseason, the Patriots officially lost the last of the players who had three Super Bowl rings (other than Tom Brady) when Matt Light retired and Faulk joined him. A lot can be said about Kevin Faulk, but I will do my best to keep this short, sweet, and to the point.
Kevin Faulk exemplified what it meant to be a Patriot in every sense of the word. During the press conference Belichick spoke a little on Faulk and one of the first things he mentioned was when Bill first took over the team Faulk approached him and asked him what he had to do to be a contributing member to the team. Bill highlighted everything he was doing well and especially everything he needed work on. Faulk took it from there and proved to be one of the most consistent and reliable players in Patriot history.
He isn’t the biggest, standing only at 5’8”, he isn’t the fastest, he never had great moves to shake tackles, but what he did have was the biggest heart of anyone on that field. He became one of Brady’s favorite targets, especially on third down. He was Wes Welker before Wes Welker was even heard of.
One of the most underrated traits that Faulk had was his blitz pick-up. More times than I can remember, Faulk lined up in shotgun formation to the left or right of Brady. Brady made his adjustments at the line and hiked the ball. The defense ran in, in an attempt to sack Tom, but Faulk had a knack for getting low and up-ending defenders to give Brady the time he needed to complete passes. It was a trait that surely kept him on the field in big situations.
The other attribute that will always be remembered is Faulk’s nose for where the first down marker was. Other than the dreaded 4th and 2 in Indianapolis, Faulk always managed to get just the right amount of yards to keep drives going. His biggest play came in Super Bowl 38 against Carolina. The Patriots just took the 27-22 lead and decided to go for their first 2-point conversion attempt all season. They ran a direct snap to Faulk, who ran right in to put them up 29-22. They won by a field goal that game, and the 2-point conversion arguably was the biggest play of the game.
Faulk is the all-time leader in all purpose yards for the Patriots, and other than Troy Brown, no one did more for the team on and off the field than Faulk. When he was hurt last season he still stuck around and helped the young running backs any way he could. I wouldn’t be surprised if Faulk ended up coaching them full time under Belichick.
Faulk is a sure thing for the Patriots Hall of Fame, as he should be. It has been tremendous watching him overcome the odds every season, and make big play after big play. There will never be a player quite like Kevin Faulk, but we should all be thankful for having the great opportunity to have witnessed him these past 13 seasons.
Best of luck in retirement Kevin, and thank you for everything.