New England Patriots could be poised for big second half - ESPN Boston Three-point stance: Pats at midseason - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston A couple of interesting articles comparing the first 8 games from 2011 to 2012, and looking at some trends in the first 8 games of 2012. There are a few things that jump out on the defensive side. First, for all the complaining we do about our pass defense (and I do a lot of it in the game chat), they've actually given up 10 FEWER 20+ yard passes this season compared to 2011. But it's worth noting the percentage of those attempts has gone up And secondly, while we all agree Chandler Jones has been amazing, the Patriots only have 2 more sacks compared to the same point last year (17 to 15). I hate using sacks as a metric but hurry numbers are hard to find. Either way, it's not as if the pass rush has been significantly better than 2011. It's a good start, but the secondary has been left out to dry at times. As Bedard pointed out earlier, on Ninko's sack/forced fumble on Sanchez, that took almost 6 seconds and was really a coverage sack. Also, while Chung has struggled when we see him on the field trying to cover a receiver, it's worth noting that the yards per attempt have gone up significantly since he's been gone. Defensive backs as a whole usually only get noticed when a ball is sent their way, which usually means the QB thinks the WR is open (unless it's Sanchez), but there are plenty of good plays going on in the background which force a QB to not target a receiver and move on in their progression. We don't really recognize that. I remember re-watching the Broncos game and looking at targets, and McCourty was thrown at only 7 times out of Manning's 44 attempts, but because he was beaten on a crucial 4th down, people were posting about how he was being picked on and how that huge play was set up to target him (despite Manning progressing through 3, maybe 4 reads before throwing the ball). I do think the pass defense will improve. Last year's did by approximately 50 yards a game in the second half of the season. And it does seem like Chung does have some impact on the deep passing game. And I still think Gregory will be a good player for us, even though he's made some poor plays at times. It would also probably help the development of Wilson to have two vets back there who could help him out as opposed to a guy still learning the position himself in McCourty or potentially Moore. But no matter what you may think, this isn't the worst pass defense you've ever seen. Last year's was just as bad, if not worse, in many, many ways. We saw that group improve significantly in the second half; I'm not saying we will do it again, but that there is a bit of hope.