He still doesn't bring the resume of more heralded teammate Richard Seymour, but sooner or later people are going to have to start recognizing the fact that Ty Warren has developed into one of the better defensive linemen in the NFL.
After a breakout 2006 season in which he finished with 7.5 sacks and was second on the team with a career high 117 tackles -- an almost astonishing number for a two-gap defensive lineman -- Warren is continuing on his impressive rise to notoriety. Through the first five games of 2007 Warren is again near the top spot of the New England defense with 25 tackles, while adding a sack and ranking second on the team with seven quarterback hits.
"I think I just kind of stayed on top of the things I've done well in the past," Warren said of the work he's put in to ensure continued growth as a player. "The run has pretty much been my strength and then in the passing game this year and last year I took a little more extra time on that than I did the run just to put more emphasis on it. Even though the sack numbers are not high at this point, I've been around the quarterback a lot. I've just been trying to be more active in the passing game as well as I have been in the running game. I just continue to work on the little things, the fundamentals."
Warren, who signed a lucrative extension this offseason to remain in New England through 2013, is also proving himself without the benefit of playing opposite Seymour. The five-time Pro Bowler has missed the beginning of the season on PUP with a knee injury. Jarvis Green has filled in well throughout New England's first month-plus of lopsided wins and, as has been the case regardless of who he's lined up with over the last couple years, Warren has looked impressive leading the front.
Over the last two years, with or without Seymour in the lineup, Warren's game has simply been about disrupting opposing offenses.
"I think where I've started to make an impact on the game is just stopping certain plays that come my way and making them stop doing it period," Warren said. "And it's not just me, it's a collective effort. The guys that are over there with me, (Mike) Vrabel and the 'backers and Vince (Wilfork) and guys like that and Jarvis. We all make that happen. I think that's when you start making an impact on the game."
Don't confuse things though, Warren is more than happy to begin playing opposite Seymour again when he returns from PUP in the coming weeks. While he doesn't feel his own game has been hurt by Seymour's extended absence from the lineup, he acknowledges it can only help him when his fellow big man returns.
"It will, it definitely will," Warren said. "I was thinking about that today in the locker room. Just the guys that we have on the line presently with myself, Vince, Jarvis, Mike Wright, Le Kevin (Smith). And then you add Richard to that mix. All those guys I named are guys that can contribute and contribute well. It's only going to strengthen the group. Richard is an experienced veteran and when he gets back we'll be happy to have him back."
With Rodney Harrison returning to the defensive mix last week and Seymour's return on the immediate horizon, Warren thinks a unit that has already been very impressive should only improve.
"It's something to watch when all our guys are back," Warren said with a smirk. "Rodney is back now and Richard will be back in the next couple weeks. So it's something to watch for. We've been doing well and I'm sure we're going to be doing even better when those guys get back out there."
That may be true, but at this point in his career, Warren has proven his production will come regardless of who is lined up around him.