I think the Patriots defense is hurting mostly because we don't play bump and run anymore. The bump and run kills a lot of these slants and middle of the field routes that have been carving us up the past few years. It also slows down receiver's routes, which gives our front 7 time to get some sacks that are attributed to coverage or slowing down receivers. It also screws up the QB's timing and leads to more potential for interceptions when his receiver isn't where he is supposed to be. My theory is that after Polian changed the rules regarding CB's, we decided to go with smurf cornerbacks who had good agility. Unfortunately, their small size makes it difficult to play bump and run, which has made the entire defense suffer as a result. We now play off receivers way too much, giving receivers too much cushion for the short and medium stuff, especially inside. Another thing I noticed is that our D-line doesn't bat down balls anymore; I remember they used to bat down balls frequently from 01-04, did our D-line coach change?