Coming into the season it was fair to expect some regression from the Patriots defense.
The offense will be better with Cam, but the defense lost some key contributors.
Jamie Collins is on the Lions getting kicked out of games.
Elandon Roberts went to Miami and along with Van Noy to snatch some chains.
Patrick Chung and Hightower opted out of the season.
That being said, the Patriots defense looked very good. Here are a few reasons why.
Well, duh..you knew this would be tops.
Bill is a defensive genius. He is so good at defense, that he broke the Rams franchise twice.
Every week will be a new gameplan to take away what the other team does well. Belichick has been doing it for decades.
The man won a super bowl as a GREAT DC before I was even alive. The man has seen a thing or two.
The living legend always puts in the team in the best spot to win.
Many have tried to out coach the HOF coach, few have succeeded. Good luck to every other squad.
The Secondary is NICE
The Pats lost Chung for the season, and yet the defense did not miss a beat from last season.
NOBODY was open against the Dolphins. Half their pass yardage came from ticky tack pass interference penalties on Gilmore.
In fact, one of them was because he covered the play so well that he broke to the ball before the receiver.
Philips, a veteran from the Chargers who the Patriots picked up, played very well in his debut. In fact, he led the team in tackles.
Between the McCourty’s J.C. Jackson, and the rest of this secondary, we should be okay. Chung surely would add even more skill, but we don’t want to embarrass teams too baldy, right?
The Defensive Line was Stout
Guy is great and Butler has gotten better every year since the Patriots picked him up as an un-drafted free agent.
Wino looked even better this season as an every down player as well.
This group seems to be solid, if unspectacular, and they got good pressure on Fitzpatrick.
Maybe a sack or two was a coverage sack, but the D line still has to get there. It’s a whole unit, and this unit played very well. They even stopped the run very well.
Young Linebackers Held Up
This young group, headlined by Bentley, made all the right plays.
Not a flashy group by any means, there is some talent here.
Jennings, a rookie, looked great when he was on the field in this one. Simon also played well.
The unit seemed cohesive and knew what their roles was.
This is a young group that really did not face a stiff test in Miami. That being said, in the first game without a preseason they acquitted themselves well.
More to Come
Many said the amount of INTs was unsustainable from last season into this one for the secondary.
While that may be true, this unit makes plays.
With consistent positional play from the D line and linebacking core, this group can be just as good as last year.
To me, the losses have been filled by good young players. The scheme is solid and with a rock solid secondary, it can allow the other units to do their thing.
This will e a tough unit that doesn’t allow many big plays.
With the new look offense hopefully maintaining lots of possession time like in game 1, this defense could be very good.
It’s early, but this is still an elite defense that can win games.
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-Brent Buckley (@bigbucksbuckley on twitter)