Van Noy extra motivated after 'frustrating' rookie campaign

Posted Jun 9, 2015

Second-year linebacker Kyle Van Noy is embracing a fresh start after his frustrating rookie season.

Kyle Van Noy has pretty high expectations for himself, so it goes without saying that his rookie season was by no means up to snuff in his book.

After suffering a core muscle injury in training camp that required surgery, Van Noy landed on short-term injured reserve and missed the first eight games of the season. Half of a season is an eternity for a rookie, and Van Noy never found his groove when he returned for the second half of the season.

He played just 54 defensive snaps the final nine games (including the playoffs) and finished with six total tackles.

Kyle Van NoyLB Kyle Van Noy (Photo: Detroit Lions)

“I don’t know if it was a bad taste, but it was a frustrating and humbling thing at the same time,” Van Noy said of his rookie season. “You have high expectations and when that’s taken away from you – not taken away – but when things have led to situations where you’re hurt and it’s taken out of your control, it’s a little frustrating.”

Van Noy said it was humbling going through the injury process last year and it’s given him a greater sense of patience and preparation. He learned a lot about himself and says he’ll be better in the long run for it.

Van Noy, obviously, is extremely motivated to show people why the Lions moved up in the second round of last year’s draft to select him.

“I’m motivated more than I ever have been,” Van Noy said. “Competing at the highest level against the best is what you want. It’s what you’ve dreamed of your whole life. To be able to finally be getting healthy and being able to compete at a high level and make an impact and not waking up in pain is refreshing. You kind of forget how nice it is to be healthy.”

Van Noy was an impact defender in every sense of the phrase at BYU, recording 226 tackles (62 for loss), 26 sacks, seven interceptions and 11 forced fumbles.

The Lions are hoping to see some of that production in their defense this season. Van Noy has been rotating in at the SAM (strong) and WILL (weak) linebacker positions.

“I love every meaningful rep I get,” Van Noy said of the extended playing time he's receiving this spring.

Van Noy changed his number earlier this offseason from 95 to the more traditional 53 for a linebacker. The beard he sported much of last year is gone, too. Van Noy is looking for a fresh start in 2015 and says his goal is to be an impactful player. He wants to show his coaches, teammates and fans that he can be a playmaker.

“(It's) totally up to him,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said earlier this offseason when asked how big of a role Van Noy could have in 2015. “He can have a huge role if he has a great offseason and plays great. If he doesn’t have a great offseason, and doesn’t play great, then his role won’t be as big.”

Van Noy has been given ample opportunity to show what he can do. We’ll see if he can make an impact in the fall.