So after reading thread upon thread, post upon post about the lack of the pass rush from the Pats D and how they can't win a SB without this I got to thinking... Is that really the thing on their D that is keeping the Pats from another title? I say no... hear me out. I think it's safe to say that everyone sees the SB winning years as the Pats having a significantly better D than they do now (save 2001 maybe). Well let's look at that: 2001 - Rushing D #19, Pass D #24, Total D #24 2003 - Rushing D #4, Pass D #15, Total D #7 2004 - Rushing D #6, Pass D #17, Total D #9 2010 - Rushing D #11, Pass D #30, Total D #25 So you see, 2010 was on par with 2001 but the "dominant" Pats D's had a top 6 ranking against the run. The Steeler's who also have been consistently good also consistenly have a top ranked run D, as well as GB this past year, the Jets recently and even the Colts morphed into a run stopping monster in the playoffs the year they won. So what happened after 2004? Well the Pats lost their best run stuffer when TJ retired, then Tedy suffered a stroke and was never the same. They never found players that could do what those two did... Beisel, Chad Brown, Pierre Woods, Matt Chatham, Corey Mays, etc., these were they guys brought/thrust in to play the middle. The main stays at OLB (McGinest, Vrable) remained the same and continued to play after '04. My point is, the Pats now have two very good ILB's to anchor that D with Mayo and Spikes. The Pats pressure is generated by stuffing the run and making the other teams throw. Also, BB probably feels more comfortable letting the OLB's go after the QB when he has confidence that the inside LB's will be able to shut the run down. So I say, it isn't about the pass rush but more about the ILB's stuffing the run and making the opposition one dimensional allowing for more turnover's, sacks, and three and outs. Not to mention these past D's were experienced and knew exactly where they needed to be and capitalized on every opportunity/mistake made by the other team. I feel this years team gained valuable experience and will make a significant leap forward this year and this pass rushing freakout will be long forgotten.