By Danny Picard
BOSTON — Never before has the “next man up” philosophy been so important. A slogan-turned-religion has never carried this much weight. But we’ll soon find out if Trent Brown is up for the task.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the New England Patriots’ offseason, then you might even be asking yourself, “Who the heck is Trent Brown?”
Brown is the Patriots’ new left tackle. The Pats acquired him — along with a 2018 fifth-round pick — in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL draft, sending San Fran a 2018 third-round pick.
He’ll replace Nate Solder, who was a Patriots’ first-round pick in 2011. After seven years in New England, Solder signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the New York Giants in the offseason, a contract that the Patriots were never going to match.
So Bill Belichick responded by bringing in Brown, who has spent most of his career at right tackle. With Solder gone, Brown is the next man up at left tackle. And he’s the most important “next man up” that the Patriots have arguably ever had.
Why? Because, for the Patriots, time is of the essence. Or shall I say, it’s Tom versus Time. Literally. That’s not just a catchy phrase for Brady’s Facebook video series. It’s real life.
At 41 years old, Brady is actually squaring off against Father Time. And you know who’s dominated that battle. So the guy blocking Brady’s backside — especially now — might have the most important role on the team all season long.