From: NFL offseason burning questions forÂ AFC teams - Jim Trotter - SI.com "NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -- Will the Patriots' defensive struggles vanish with Bill Belichick calling the plays? The unit was uncharacteristically porous in losses to quality teams, surrendering 38 to the Saints and 35 to the Colts, who trailed by 17 in the second quarter. The impact players who contributed to three Super Bowl wins are largely gone, and the one who remains, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, is an unrestricted free agent who wants big money or his walking papers. Inside linebacker Jerod Mayo has the potential to be an elite player, but the cupboard is sparse from there. Linebacker Adalius Thomas hasn't lived up to expectations and will probably be released. Carolina free-agent end/linebacker Julius Peppers would cure some ills, but the Patriots' problems on defense run deeper than one player." I think they're right that one player won't "cure" what ills the Patriots defense, but I think they're missing the big picture. As much as people said the Pats have an aging defense, nothing could be further from the truth (well, obviously, we're *all* aging). The front line (Wilfork, Warren, and Green) are in their primes, not on the back 9 yet. The main backups (Pryor, Brace, and Wright) are all younger than 28. The LB corps features Mayo, Banta-Cain (30...not too old yet), Guyton (24), Woods (28), and Thomas (32). The main guys in the secondary are Bodden (28), Meriweather (26), Sanders (26), McGowan (26), Butler (23), Willhite (26), and Wheatley (24). The main issue for the Patriots is inexperience, in my opinion. There's enough talent for this to be a good - maybe not dominant, but good - defense. If they add a couple of more guys they have a chance to be very good.