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Have we overrated the Patriots defense more specifically the front 7?

2021 Patriots Season:
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Oct 31st

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Vindicate

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I dunno if anyone is super guilty of overestimating, in fact a lot of us were cautious entering a season without Gilmore. The defense is truly another level with him. His effect can cover up woes on the front 7 to an extent. Also, as has become a league-wide narrative, the lack of preseason reps is really hard to overcome in terms of conditioning - and the defense is affected most by that.

I still see the hope, this defense could be very good. Not lights out every game, but a lot of defensive woes over the past two seasons can really be attributed to the lackluster offense. If we had even a typical Brady offense with some decent skill players, they'd be relied on way less, they'd play less snaps, be more rested for each game, etc.

The Dolphins are a hard team. They may not have all the W's, but they certainly are always a threat with intimate knowledge as to how the Patriots play, plan, and execute. BB proteges have a history of doing well against him, or at least maintaining competition. And it makes sense. We were one of McDaniel's few W's. One of Patricia's few W's. I think any dismissal of our defense after one game where they held a team to 17 pts and the offense fumbled away the W is overreaction.

And again, the effect of Gilmore is big. Pushing Jones into the CB2 position has him in overly favorable matchups. It solidifies the secondary, which creates time for the front 7.

Also, I think of years like 2010 and am like "this defense would have been able to keep that team nearly unbeatable."

I'll never forget the days of being more scared of 3rd and long than 3rd and shorts.
 

Vindicate

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Also I think there's a difference between a bad defense and a defensive failure in one game. Regardless of how bad of a position they were put in by the offense not scoring TD's, their job is dictated by the circumstances. And them not being able to stop the scores necessary to win is them failing at that job. And a well coached team knows that. There's no way Belichick would say to his team "well the defense did their job but the offense didn't." - but I also don't think he's saying "the defense is bad."

What's important is to understand that those jobs are a lot to ask for a team, especially in their first game. What determines how good this defense is overall is their rate of success in those situations, for which the jury remains out.
 

sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
Just shows how much Brady and the offense covered up the inadequacies on defense more often than not over the years. I think one day we'll feel the same about Mac but he has a ways to go for that to happen. For the time being it's hard for us not to pay more attention to it than we're used to.
 

Wozzy

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
One game is not an indicator of anything, they need to play better. They gave up 17 point they likely wouldn’t have if the offense didn’t cough the ball up twice.
 

mikey m

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I think this front 7 will basically go as Hightower goes and, as OP mentioned, he was slow in his first game back. If he returns closer to form they will be solid. If his play remains average-below average, the front 7 will be meh, at least against the run and quick lateral passing game we saw from Miami. Still, in obvious passing situations, they're a much stronger unit.
 

Rob0729

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The over reaction in this thread is stunning. Or knowing the state of this board after a loss, expected.

The defense was decent on Sunday. For the most part they were good to very good, but they gave up several big plays especially to the receivers and they made some stupid penalties. It isn't exactly surprising considering there a lot of new pieces to the defense.

I saw nothing to be too alarmed about after only one game. You gotta be concerned about the CB situation, but I am not worried about the front seven after one game. I have seen the Pats play far, far worse opening game and win 12-14 games and a Super Bowl or two.

I expecting Trent Dilfer to come to this board to announce "The Patriots are just not good anymore".

It is a long season and far too much is being concluded based on just one game. Both good and bad.
 

Bradybranch

Practice Squad Player
First, I've done a lot more than that. Second, I'm not the only one who's made points about the defense. You're white knighting when it's not needed, and ignoring all sorts of responses to it rather than acknowledging the obvious. "Tua sucks!" was the claim for most of the week prior to the game, yet the Patriots defense went 0-for-4 in the first/last drives against him, including the complete failure on the last drive of the game.


Just take the "L" and walk away. It's one game.
Nah, the offense blew the game you and you trying to blame the defense is a joke.
 

PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
The defense is truly another level with him. His effect can cover up woes on the front 7 to an extent.
This is why there's an entire thread about the front 7 being terrible now - comments like this that take an unknown and add plenty of hyperbole.

The defense is NOT automatically at another level with Gilmore. Gilmore, just like this defense, is an unknown. Sure, two years ago DPOY Gilmore might bring the defense to another level, but we have no CLUE what he is NOW due to both age and injury. He could come back and have fallen off a cliff.

So over-hype comments (the new Villanueve Dune is going to be the greatest movie we've ever seen!!!) build up this totally unrealistic expectation and then IF it doesnt pan out like that expectation suddenly the entire unit (or team) sucks and we can go back to "woe is us...please come save us Patriots fans..." whether savior be a past player, future free agent, or draft pick.
 

venecol

The FRG has a little ****
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2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
One game is not an indicator of anything, they need to play better. They gave up 17 point they likely wouldn’t have if the offense didn’t cough the ball up twice.
Neither one of the lost fumbles resulted in points for MIA. Not sure why it's so difficult to give MIA credit for playing better situational football than the Pats. It is what it is.
 

Rob0729

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I am not saying the Pats will get close to the 2003 or 2014 levels, but don't forget that in the opening game those years the defense played like crap and the Pats lost the game. Hell, in 2014 the Pats gave up 191 yards on the ground in the opener (the Pats ended up being 9th best against the run that year by the time the season ended). And of course the 2003 defense became the best defense in Patriots' history and one of the 10-20 best defenses in NFL history. Both teams won the Super Bowl.

The point is stop using the first game of the season to judge the defense or any other part of the team for what it is and will be for the rest of the season. The first week of the season is an anomaly. Virtually every year you see a team that ends up going deep into the playoffs play like crap (Tampa last year) and a team that goes sub .500 look great (the Jags beat the Colts week one with Minshew throwing for 3 TDs).
 

MrTibbs

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
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A question for those sharp eyes posters that look carefully at film after the game:

How did Barmore look on run plays?

To my eyes he seemed to do decent rushing the QB on passing downs (not entirely unexpected considering what an effective designated pass rusher he was at Alabama), but my eyes aren't really sharp enough to see if he got exposed in the run game any.

He will be a valuable addition this year even if his role is solely a designated pass rusher, but I've hoped that at some point (either later this year or in future years) he will become effective at playing the run also.

Seems like most short yardage situations he was off the field, why? Obviously we won't find out until we see him at those situations to judge for ourselves.
 

Family

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
It's funny how you act like the defense didn't do that, because they literally did twice. Just hilarious for you to sit there and say you had no confidence that the defense could stop them when the defense literally stopped them twice the 2 drives before to put the offense in position to win it

View attachment 35742

View attachment 35741

Meyers catches that wide open 1st down and Harris doesn't fumble and that's a Pats win. Funny how 2 offensive miscues (and there was more than that) switches the narrative to "defense was bad"

Hell even with those 2 miscues, if the refs didn't call a phantom hold call on Harris' TD run that's a 20-17 Pats win.

Yes we all saw the game.

If you view my posts in this thread I am referring specifically to the defense's inability to stop the run when they need to. This is a carry over from last year.

Your helpful recap reflects mostly passing when Miami felt the pressure to score to win the game. Different situation.

Yes it's only one game. Mine isn't a statement on projecting the future. But they haven't been able to stop the run when they need to. It's been ongoing. And looked horrible trying to do it last Sunday.

BTW this is really my main concern for the team. The penalties and turnovers will clean up. Don't you have any concerns left over from last year? Or is everything great?
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
The whole front7 looks worse with Stephon Gilmore gone.

The whole defense is much worse without Gilmore. We have the cap room, let's stop trying to save $8M and give the dude some goodwill. Moving his contract money earlier was nice last year. Now it's being short sighted
 

Ochmed Jones

Pro Bowl Player
The whole front7 looks worse with Stephon Gilmore gone.

The whole defense is much worse without Gilmore. We have the cap room, let's stop trying to save $8M and give the dude some goodwill. Moving his contract money earlier was nice last year. Now it's being short sighted

the play of older cornerbacks is not a gradual decline. It is a cliff and Gilmore is fast approaching that cliff. Plus who knows how he plays when recovered from the injury.

bb is not going to buy a car based on looks. He is going to need to test drive it first.
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
the play of older cornerbacks is not a gradual decline. It is a cliff and Gilmore is fast approaching that cliff. Plus who knows how he plays when recovered from the injury.

bb is not going to buy a car based on looks. He is going to need to test drive it first.

I just don't know.
You have guys like Frank Gore and Peterson for RBs and Brady breaking every record plus Brees and Rodgers etc.

Gilmore wasn't bad last year in fact still elite. I'm not for pissing off a key critical vital part of the entire defense because of age comps. Pats fans over anyone else should get this.

.
 

Wozzy

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Neither one of the lost fumbles resulted in points for MIA. Not sure why it's so difficult to give MIA credit for playing better situational football than the Pats. It is what it is.
One fumble clearly led to less points for New England and ultimately cost them the game. I have no problem admitting Miami is a good team, that was one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2020, particularly pass defenses. But if Folk kicks a game winning FG we’re not even having this conversation. One game doesn’t make a season. We’re onto Cinci… err The Jets.
 

RodThePat

In the Starting Line-Up
I am not saying the Pats will get close to the 2003 or 2014 levels, but don't forget that in the opening game those years the defense played like crap and the Pats lost the game. Hell, in 2014 the Pats gave up 191 yards on the ground in the opener (the Pats ended up being 9th best against the run that year by the time the season ended). And of course the 2003 defense became the best defense in Patriots' history and one of the 10-20 best defenses in NFL history. Both teams won the Super Bowl.

The point is stop using the first game of the season to judge the defense or any other part of the team for what it is and will be for the rest of the season. The first week of the season is an anomaly. Virtually every year you see a team that ends up going deep into the playoffs play like crap (Tampa last year) and a team that goes sub .500 look great (the Jags beat the Colts week one with Minshew throwing for 3 TDs).
The 2014 defense ranked 12th by DVOA and 15th by EPA/Play allowed, they weren't an elite unit in the regular season and certainly weren't one in the playoffs, Colts game aside. I think this defense can play close to that level.
 

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