Kyle Van Noy

Dolphins' Kyle Van Noy bristles at Patriots comparisons: 'We're our own team'

Dolphins' Kyle Van Noy bristles at Patriots comparisons: 'We're our own team'

You could call the Miami Dolphins "Foxboro South." Just don't call them that in front of Kyle Van Noy.

The veteran linebacker is one of four former New England Patriots who signed with the Dolphins this offseason, joining fellow linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kamu Grugier-Hill and center Ted Karras.

Miami is also led by an ex-Patriot in head coach Brian Flores, who has loaded his staff with New England alums in defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, tight ends coach George Godsey and quality control coach Mike Judge.

But Van Noy apparently is growing tired of those who believe the Dolphins are trying to replicate the Patriots' model of success.

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“I don’t now how many New England guys there are, but we’re going to get away from that,” Van Noy told the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley in a recent interview. “We’re our own team, this is not the New England Patriots. This is the Miami Dolphins. It’s totally different, and I’m excited for that. New beginnings.

The Dolphins began to forge their own identity late in the 2019 season, going 5-4 down the stretch after losing their first seven games. While Van Noy and his fellow Patriots cast-offs weren't there for that turnaround, the 29-year-old can already sense the team's new attitude.

"We’re the Miami Dolphins. We’re here to represent the people of Miami," Van Noy said. "They want it bad. I can sense that. Miami’s a football town."

The Dolphins fired ex-Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea as their offensive coordinator late in the 2019 season and used their No. 5 overall pick on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, so perhaps they are intent on moving past those Patriots comparisons.

We'll find out immediately if that new approach pays off, as New England hosts Miami in its 2020 season opener.

New Patriots LB Brandon Copeland looking to 'leave my mark on everyone'

New Patriots LB Brandon Copeland looking to 'leave my mark on everyone'

While the Patriots free agent departures have made plenty of headlines this offseason - there was a certain quarterback you may remember drew plenty of attention - an interesting free agent addition was introduced to the New England media on Wednesday. 

Linebacker Brandon Copeland, 28, who spent the past two seasons with the New York Jets, said on a conference call that he's all about making a mark on and off the field.

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“I just want to leave my mark on everyone I come into contact with. Whether that’s the player next to me, the player opposite of me on offense, the chef, the janitor, Copeland said. "I’ve been fortunate to personally leave a positive mark anywhere I go. For me, that is the most important thing. When I step on the field, you know you’re going to get my all."

That kind of attitude has helped him rise from an undrafted free agent out of Ivy League Penn to preparing to begin his fifth season in the NFL. Copeland signed a one-year deal with New England to help offset the free-agent linebacker losses of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts. 

He provides the kind of versatility the Patriots are always looking for. After two seasons with the Detroit Lions, he's spent his past two with the Jets and has played linebacker, defensive end and on special teams. His best season was 2018 when, as mostly an edge rusher, he had 14 QB hits and five sacks for New York. 

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“In terms of my own role here for me, I’m trying to go in and learn as much as possible,” Copeland said. “I’m obviously a linebacker body type but I’ve realized what’s kept me in the league for this long and at the level I’ve played at is the fact that I can do multiple things at a high level.”

That desire to make an impact extends away from the field. Copeland received the NFL Players Association's Alan Page Award this past year for his community service. On his introductory call, he said he's partnered with local organizations to donate $10,000 worth of groceries to Boston-area neighborhoods impacted by the coronavirus crisis. He also made similar $10,000 donations in Baltimore, where he's from, and New Jersey, where he played with the Jets. 

Copeland also teaches a financial literacy course called "Life 101" at Penn's Wharton School of Business and he's extended that instruction lately to NFL players staying at home during the pandemic. His "Beyond the Basics" foundation hosts Christmas shopping for low-income families and a football camp for kids - via Zoom conference call on Saturday this year - that includes providing school supplies and hygiene kits. 

“I really want to make sure that at my funeral, as grim as that may sound, there’s more people talking about the holiday shopping spree we took them on, or the groceries we gave them during a crazy time like this, than a sack that I’m going to have this year or something like that,” Copeland said. “And again, I know that might be weird to say in a forum like this, but that’s just the reality of the situation.”

Kyle Van Noy details Dolphins' strong play for him in NFL free agency

Kyle Van Noy details Dolphins' strong play for him in NFL free agency

Kyle Van Noy proved his doubters wrong after the New England Patriots acquired him during the 2016 season in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Four years later, the veteran linebacker parlayed his success in New England into a major payday with the Miami Dolphins in NFL free agency.

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Van Noy, during a recent appearance on the "Double Coverage" podcast hosted by Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty, explained the Dolphins' approach to signing him as a free agent and how it became clear Miami was the spot for him.

“Obviously there was a lot of unknowns, but I was confident in my play,” Van Noy said. “And then it was Miami all the way. They came out strong out of the gates.

They made it clear they wanted me as a priority, that they wanted me to come in and be a leader. Really just came strong and everybody else kind of backed off or didn’t even come in at all. So, that made my decision pretty clear.

Van Noy signed a four-year contract with the Dolphins worth a reported $51 million. The 29-year-old linebacker spent a little more than three seasons with the Patriots and helped them win three Super Bowl championships. He played well in 2019 with 6.5 sacks, 56 total tackles, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed in 15 games. 

Van Noy wasn't the only Patriots player to head down to Miami in free agency. Linebacker Elandon Roberts and center Ted Karras also signed with the Dolphins. All three of them will be reunited with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who spent 15 seasons in the New England organization before leaving for Miami following Super Bowl LIII.