... to the MEAT of the season 1. Jets 9-2, then the Packers 7-3, then the Bears 7-3. Those are 3 game that will test the meddle of any team. In fact, after the Bear game, the Pats will have completed a stretch where they played teams with the best record or 2nd best record in the league 5 of 6 games. Lets see where we stand 3 weeks from now. 2. Conversely its interesting to note that the Jets haven't beaten a team with a winning record since......Game 2. And its not like they have been dominating the bad teams either. 3. OK let me get my rant over with. It wasn't too long into the first half of the Detroit game when I started thinking, "so exactly WHEN is this "young, talented", though inexperienced defense, going to start to GET FREAKIN' BETTER!!!!!!" It might be alright to give up yds and points to Rothlessberger and Manning, but we don't discriminate. No not us. We also make HOFer's out of guys like Colt McCoy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and now Shaun freakin' Hill. In what universal dimension has the time come where 3rd and 10 become the most scary down. Its like we've entered some kind of Bizzarro World. IIRC after the first 2 series the Pats defense was unable to stop the Lions from moving the ball except for the picks and the absurd pushing off penalty (be honest, if it had been on Gronk you would have been outraged). Again IIRC the only time we actually stopped them was on the last drive which ended on our 5 yd line. That's just HORRIBLE. Yet, for some reason, we all seem to feel like this defense is better than the one we had last year (including myself). Why exactly is that? Last year's D allowed just over 17 points per game. (5th) This season its something over 24 ppg (24th). So I ask the question again, just WHEN is this defense going to start to get better? Just WHEN are we going to start to force FGs in the red zone instead of TDs? Just WHEN are we going to stop at LEAST half of the 3rd and longs? Just when are we going to hold a team UNDER 20 points? I don't care about the yds. Back in 2001 and 2003 BOTH those D's were in the mid 20's in total D. BUT...both those teams were in the top 10 in scoring D. Actually top 5 IIRC. I just keep waiting and except of a few things that I will discuss below, does it real seem to be getting better guys? 4. Actually on some levels I think it is. . And that is what is so FRUSTRATING. I can't recall a team which force the opponent into as many 3rd down situations as the Pats do. THAT means we are doing SOMETHING right for a least 2 downs. SO maybe you can say that this defense is better than last years.....for two thirds of the time. 5. I have seen improvement in 2 areas, which may be the reason we are 9-2 at this point. First is in our pass rush. No we haven't become the scourge of NFL QB's. We are still in the bottom quarter in sacks. But we have been fairly consistently forcing QBs move off their spot. We are getting closer. And we are doing it, without the Blitz. Except for the Pittsburgh game, the Pats rarely seem to rush more than 4 guys BTW - I would have been a lot happier if we had Blitzed a little more in the Detroit game. Wouldn't you think putting SOME pressure on the back up QB might be a good idea? The other thing I have noticed that we are doing better is getting our hands on the ball more. More picks. More tips. THAT is good. It shows we are getting closer (wishful thinking) in our pass coverages 6. I interrupt this rant with my weekly paean to Devin McCourty. 5 picks in the last 6 games. Amazing when you think this kid had 5 picks in 4 YEARS against college competition. The pick against Johnson was textbook, and it was against a great WR and a decent pass. The kid just keeps on getting better and better. He has a great future ahead of him. Even Jet fans will admit that we got the better CB now. Oh btw, have I mentioned recently that I said he'd be our starting CB from the day he was drafted, and that was when we HAD Boddin. And I can't wait until we get him back. Now THAT will be as solid a CB pairing as there is in the league. But that's a story for NEXT year. I thank you for your indulgence, and we will now go back to our regular programing. 7. OK enough ranting. Lets talk about the good things. Lets talk about the offense. OMG Felger was right again. This offense IS better that it was with Moss. Welker is now running some routes longer than 4 yds. The RBs and ALL the TEs are now an integral part of the passing attack. Brady's chemistry with Branch is self evident. The running game is MORE than what we have a right to expect with 2 UDFAs leading the way. In fact the only fly in the ointment has been the lack of production from Brandon Tate. Clearly I'd like to see him more involved in the offense. And no I'm not having a breakdown because of his drop. His game in Detroit sucked, but it was not worse than Gronk's meltdown in Cleveland. This is just his first year, and I'm willing to cut him some slack.