FOXBOROUGH -- With Patriots running back Fred Taylor, who had surgery to repair ligament damage in his right ankle, out for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos and for the foreseeable future, the onus of the running game falls to the running backs he leaves behind, including the much-maligned Laurence Maroney.
Maroney stood at his locker today and answered questions for more than 10 minutes about replacing Taylor, being booed last Sunday, and the fine line between running hard and running smart.
Maroney, who has rushed 27 times for just 78 yards this season, said he is aware he has to elevate his game with Taylor going down.
"Yeah, I told myself that every day. I try to visualize the game. I try to visualize me playing in the game and making moves and scoring and all that," said Maroney. "I know that I'm going to have to pick it up for the running backs, the bulk of the load, or if we do run it a lot I'm going to have to bring the energy early and often."
More so with out Taylor?
"I feel so. You know I got to hold it down for Fred since he is gone," said Maroney. "We got Kev [Faulk] here, Sammy here, BenJarvus, so it's going to be a team effort. I know I'm not going to be able to do it by myself. I know these guys are going to help out, but I feel like I'm going to have to carry most of the load."
Maroney revisited being booed, which he talked with the Globe about on Wednesday.
"You just got to play your game, good or bad, good or bad you just have to play you," said Maroney. "Can't nobody play the game for you. Ain't nobody out there controlling me saying make this cut, make that cut. I got to do it on my own, regardless of what the fans say or what they think I got to go out there and play this game the way I know how to play it.
"I can't got out there and play it the way they do because I feel like I'm definitely going to get booed if I try to do everything they ask me to do because they see it from a different way than I see it. I'm up close so a lot of cuts that they can see from a distance I can't, then if I get to thinking about let me make this cut, this cut, then I find myself dancing and being indecisive and as a running back you can't be indecisive. You got to know what you want to do and just hit it. You really can't sit there dancing in the hole. I figured that was one of the reasons they were booing, so like I said I got to be more decisive and become a better runner."
Maroney said sometimes he is so cognizant of being indecisive that he just goes 100 miles per hour and just slams into the line without reading the play.
"I feel like that's just as bad as dancing because I'm not really reading the play out and really going the way it's blocked," said Maroney. "I'm trying to hit it fast and hard, so they can be like, 'Well, at least Maroney was running hard.' It really don't mean nothing if I'm running hard and I ain't getting nowhere. I got to find how to be a combination of both and when I see the hole then go 100 miles per hour, hit it hard, downhill, break tackles."
His plan is to go back to basics and being himself, for better or worse.
"People in general when things just ain't going right in their life you just got to step back and see what got you there," Maroney said. "You got to get back to the basics. I feel like I just got to get back to the basics and run the way that got me to where I'm at now. I feel like yeah, OK, become more patient, make your reads, run hard, run with no remorse, just go out there and be kamikaze and go out there and throw your body around. That's how I used to play, and I need to get back to it, and just go out there and have a good game."