Now, the obvious follow-up is whether anyone on the team has the skins on the wall to assume such a role.
Maroney pointed out that there are grizzled Patriot vets as part of every position group, and he's right, with the possible exception of the secondary -- where Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden both have been around the NFL block but are new here. He reiterated that maturity isn't the issue here.
And Jarvis Green scoffed when I asked him about that, emphasizing that the Patriots have one of the league's oldest rosters. But it's obvious that one experienced player isn't just like the next, although as Maroney said, the onus in now on the players to not worry about anything that happened before 2009.
"The guys change, coaches change, players change," Green said. "We’re a pretty old team, as far as average age. We have a lot of great guys in the locker room and we don’t look at that. That’s the past. This is 2009. Right now, we’re 7-5. That’s what we’re working on right now, we have Carolina next week."
And Bruschi and Harrison have television assignments, and Vrabel has Buffalo. Point is, those guys can't help the Patriots anymore.
"Of course, we miss them," defensive lineman Mike Wright said. "They’re great players and they were key leaders on our team when we were here. But they’re gone and we have other guys that can step into their positions and play. They’ve proven it time and time again. That’s the past. The past ain’t gonna do anything for you. I don’t care who was here. Now is now, and that’s what we’re dealing with."