New England Patriots’ Off-Season Focus: An Improved Defense

Greg M. Cooper USA TODAY Sports

When discussing the New England Patriots, two things come into mind: Tom Brady and the number one offense. This has been New England’s rep in the NFL as of late.  You will hear the phrase, “If you can’t put up 30 points against New England, you won’t beat them.”

I would say that is more rhetoric than a reality.

What are the facts? New England suffered four losses this past regular season. The San Francisco 49ers put up 40 points and the Baltimore Ravens put up 30 points.

Ok, point taken.

Now what about those two losses that should not have been? The Pats endured a 24-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and a 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, just as you are doing now, the sports world questioned these losses and the Pats’ season, too.

Nevertheless, we all know that Brady & Co., on a good day will put up 30 points against opponents and on a great day, 50 points. This has been fact for years now. The offense is consistent.  What must New England focus on during the off-season if they even want to consider advancing past the AFC Championship game?

An improved defense.

This has been New England’s stumbling block the past couple of years. Yes, they are lauded for their offense.  On the contrary, they are also loathed for their defense. This has also been their rep for the past couple of years, “New England needs to work on their defense.”

Although the stats incline otherwise (in 2010 they were ranked 25th overall and in 2012, 31st), I will be fair and say that New England is still tweaking its defense. For instance, they led the NFL with interceptions (25) in 2010. For the 2012 season, they were second with 23 picks.  This shows consistency and a quest to improve its defense.

Just as football critics know, New England is fully aware of its defensive woes.  In the 2012 NFL Draft, the bulk of their selections were on defensive players. What will New England and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia do to ameliorate the Pats’ defense this upcoming season?

Defensive players Jerod Mayo, Kyle Harrington, Devin McCourtney and Aqib Talib are putting up good numbers, but it is not enough. Will they acquire more defensive players this upcoming draft? Will they pick up a remarkable free agent? Whatever approach they are taking, it must involve improving their defense.

They say defense wins championships. This must have some merit; even with Brady and the number one offense, the Pats are not champions because of their flimsy defense.

 


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