Is the Pats' Defense Starting to Gel?

2020 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: N/A

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Funktopus

On the Game Day Roster
A couple random thoughts,

1) The defense may have been 31st in yards and 15th in points last year, but when Spikes and Chung were on the field they looked better than their season average.

2) It seems like there's always an FA contribution. Maybe this year it will be Gregory.
 

everlong

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I agree. The premise of the OP was that the defense is showing very early promising signs, combined with more athleticism and playmaking than we've had in a long time, so there is some reason for cautious optimism. But by no means do I expect a "linear trend upwards", and the intent wasn't to start a massive Rex Ryab-style lovefest of hyperbole on how great the defense is. Youth, injuries and inexperience will all play a role. And I expect the defense not to fully "gel" until after Thanksgiving and perhaps not until the playoffs, which is fine by me.

I know your premise was merely upside and promise from some areas we haven't seen in a while however the thread kind of gained momentum from there. So I was just adding some perspective and predicting that the first sign of trouble all that northward hyperbole will go south twice as fast.
 

Bobs My Uncle

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I'm just looking for continued improvement from this defense. How much they improve remains to be seen but, health permitting, I don't see a situation where they regress from last years performance. If so, and so long as the offense plays its usual, stellar self, then the Pats will be strong SB favorites.

What's not to like about this?
 

everlong

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
C'mon maaaaaaaaaan!

I think the majority of people know which unit failed us in the latest SB - ie, the one which failed to put a single point on the board for the last 26 minutes of the game.

The D did their part - couple of fumbles didn't go their way is all.

All three units had their successes and failures in that game. The offense was really never the same after Tuck hit Brady. He only had like 3 incompletions at that point and his accuracy went through the floor after that. When he was on target the receiving core certainly didn't help him out. But the defense gave up 396 yards and let the Giants hold the ball for over 37 minutes.

It will be long forgotten and a punter will never get credit but Weatherford was one of the most valuable players that day. He continually pinned the Pats deep. It's not that Mesko had a bad day. His day was fine but Weatherford was simply great.
 

The Brandon Five

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
If the Patriots defense was better last year, it would have given the Patriots offense more opportunities during the Superbowl. Bend don't break is great, but when the Patriots offense is getting shut down, the defense needs to get them back the ball...Time of possession can be a very telling stat if the offense is not scoring points.

The two biggest drivers for that imbalance in TOP were the turnover on the first offensive play (safety) and the stupid pick thrown on the fifth play of a drive in the second half. Three punts isn't bad, but it's not like the defense wasn't doing its job: they forced four.

After immediately giving the ball back to the Giants O after a great stop by the D following sacks on back-to-back plays, the Pats O followed up this brilliance with a FG and then a three and out on the next two offensive possessions. Three possessions, one FG, six minutes of possession. If it weren't for the defense that game would have been a blowout by the half.

Once the offense got going, things looked good...right up until another turnover when Brady aired it out to a guy with a broken ankle (35 second drive).

I mean, sure, you expect professional athletes to have the conditioning to handle it, but you can't pin the fact that the Pats O didn't score once after the TD to open the half on the defense. They held the Giants to two FG's and a punt in the second half before they let Bradshaw fall into the EZ.

Yes, they win as a team and lose as a team, but I think that loss is more on Tom and the O than on the D. They held them to 19 points. That should have been enough to win. In the end there were too many mistakes and injuries (Mankins' ACL, Vollmer's back, the Gronkle) to overcome. The D played better than I expected. Wilfork must have been hurt in the first half because he was getting stood up by a single blocker in the latter parts of the game.
 
Last edited:

Rob0729

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I'm optimistic about this year's defense improving quite a bit from last year, BUT I will reserve judgement until I see the games for real.
 

rookBoston

In the Starting Line-Up
I *wish* this year's crop and euphoria was an annual event.

I haven't been this bullish on the progress of the D in TC since 2001, when BB added Izzo, Vrabel, Pleasant, Seymour on D. The unit seemed to starting finding an attitude and identity in camp. They grew their swagger, just like this D seems to be finding confidence it didn't have last year.

That team went 1-3 in their first four games and looked over-matched. But then, of course, the rest is history.
 

PatsFan2

Pro Bowl Player
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
I haven't been this bullish on the progress of the D in TC since 2001, when BB added Izzo, Vrabel, Pleasant, Seymour on D. The unit seemed to starting finding an attitude and identity in camp. They grew their swagger, just like this D seems to be finding confidence it didn't have last year.

That team went 1-3 in their first four games and looked over-matched. But then, of course, the rest is history.

Those were the days old rook or is it Matt Light.:D:cool:
 

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I know your premise was merely upside and promise from some areas we haven't seen in a while however the thread kind of gained momentum from there. So I was just adding some perspective and predicting that the first sign of trouble all that northward hyperbole will go south twice as fast.

You make a good point here Mayo. I know people get frustrated sometimes with BB's "bend but don't break" defensive philosophy. But the bottom line is that although it gives up a lot of yards, in the end it consistently produces results in the 2 most important areas of scoring and turn overs.

People sometimes forget that in the Pats first 2 superbowls the defense ranked in the mid 20's in total defense. It seems odd to say, but its not about the yards, its about the scoring. I understand that we'd all LIKE to see a shut down style defense, which creates a large amount of 3 and outs, but that's not necessary to have a "superbowl" defense.

The ultimate goal of a defense is to be in the top 5 in scoring.....period. Where you are in yards, sacks, 3rd down conversions, etc really doesn't matter (although it doesn't hurt if they are good too.) Scoring and stats related to scoring like red zone defense are the real numbers to watch.

We are used to saying that BB is the best coach in the league. But think about this. Since 2008, BB's teams have won 11, 10, 14, and 13 games in the regular season, while totally revamping his defense. Injuries, and some questionable personnel decisions, rendered last year's Pats defense one of the worst in league history in yards allowed. Yet it was good enough to get to the superbowl and THEN hold one of the top offenses in the league to just 21 points (and that's including the safety and the give up TD). That's pretty amazing stuff.

The history of BB's defenses with the Pats includes the following:

1. They tend to get better as the season goes on.
2. They tend to produce a fair amount of turnovers, and tighten up in the red zone.
3. They tend to be in the top 10 in fewest points allowed.
4. They tend to give up more yardage than #1-3 would suggest.

The talent on this year's group seems noticeably improved compared with previous years. Given that, and given BB's past history, I would reasonably hope for something like the following:

1. A defense which starts out with a few glitches, but which is recognizably one of the 10 best (or even better) in the NFL by the end of the season, and which isn't viewed as a liability in the playoffs.
2. Limiting opponent to under 20 PPG. The 2007 and 2009 defenses around 17 PPG, the 2008 and 2010 defenses around 19 PPG.
3. Continuing to be among the league leaders in turnovers. Better pressure up front combined with improvements in the secondary should help.
4. Markedly better 3rd down defense.
5. Producing more situational big plays.
6. Better communication in the secondary, with less big plays being given up.
7. A slightly more aggressive approach, with less BBDB than we've seen in the past. The 2011 team gave up a ton of yards and points in the 4th quarter once the Pats had a big lead. It may not have impacted the results, but it just didn't sit very well with me.

Maybe that's too much to hope for. It's early. But I'm "cautiously optimistic".
 

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Reiss's main take aways from the first 18 practices of training camp includes the following:

1. Chandler Jones is the real deal. So much for the "he might need some seasoning" chatter that was so prevalent at the draft. The first-round draft choice seized the opportunity for additional reps at right defensive end when Rob Ninkovich was sidelined for a few days early in camp, and now looks like a permanent fixture there (with Ninkovich moving to the left side). While Jones has impressed on the field, he's also made an impression on his teammates off the field as a humble rookie who is willing to carry veterans' shoulder pads on his way off the field.

2. New look for the defense. The Bill Belichick trademark 3-4 base defense always had three big guys up front -- the two 5-technique defensive ends flanking the burly nose tackle. Think Ty Warren and Richard Seymour as bookends, with Vince Wilfork at the nose. But this is a new-look defense, with just two big bodies in the middle and then two hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker types on each side. Put three big linebackers behind them -- one of whom was a first-round pick (Dont'a Hightower) -- and you have the makings of a new-look, more flexible front-seven. So far, so good with this significant change.

After 18 practices, this stands out ... - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
Re the comments from Reiss on the "new look" defense...I think the writing was on the wall in last year's draft when they caused so much fan agony by passing on the 5-tech prospects like Wilkerson and Hayward. Then replay this year, using the names Reyes and Still -- and moving up for Hightower, who would have been a 3rd ILB in an old-style Patriots defense.

This team has been deliberately built in a different shape. Yes, they can still show that 2-gap 3-4 look if desired, but it doesn't put their very best personnel on the field, and I don't expect to see it very regularly.

Next year: one more stud 4-3 DT.
 
Last edited:

everlong

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
The history of BB's defenses with the Pats includes the following:

1. They tend to get better as the season goes on.
2. They tend to produce a fair amount of turnovers, and tighten up in the red zone.
3. They tend to be in the top 10 in fewest points allowed.
4. They tend to give up more yardage than #1-3 would suggest.

2+3 > 4 is the bend but don't break arguement. I'm in the camp that feels that while there's still truth in that you also need to be able to get the **** off the field and the SB showed that. While the points against were bad the TOP killed them. Bill is an advocate of not giving up the big play. I'd prefer they give up a few more big plays and avoid the death by paper cuts. If their 3rd down conversion percentage is like it's been the last few years at the end of the year I'm not going to be impressed.
 

PatsGirl2011

In the Starting Line-Up
2+3 > 4 is the bend but don't break arguement. I'm in the camp that feels that while there's still truth in that you also need to be able to get the **** off the field and the SB showed that. While the points against were bad the TOP killed them. Bill is an advocate of not giving up the big play. I'd prefer they give up a few more big plays and avoid the death by paper cuts. If their 3rd down conversion percentage is like it's been the last few years at the end of the year I'm not going to be impressed.

Agreed! TOP was the huge difference in the SB outcome. They simply didn't have enough opportunities. In order for this team to be successful and really dominated, they need to lower their yards per game which correlates with 3rd down conversions.
 

patfanken

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Re the comments from Reiss on the "new look" defense...I think the writing was on the wall in last year's draft when they caused so much fan agony by passing on the 5-tech prospects like Wilkerson and Hayward. Then replay this year, using the names Reyes and Still -- and moving up for Hightower, who would have been a 3rd ILB in an old-style Patriots defense.

This team has been deliberately built in a different shape. Yes, they can still show that 2-gap 3-4 look if desired, but it doesn't put their very best personnel on the field, and I don't expect to see it very regularly.

Next year: one more stud 4-3 DT.
I find this to be a very nice insight, Patchick. It certainly helps make sense of why BB didn't take any of the prototypical 3-4, 2 gap DE's over the last 2 drafts. Though I still think that Reyes could end up being as good an inside rusher as Fanene and Wilson might have been there at the end of round 2. But that's just pure speculation.

Again nice job, girl. ;)
 

patfanken

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
2+3 > 4 is the bend but don't break arguement. I'm in the camp that feels that while there's still truth in that you also need to be able to get the **** off the field and the SB showed that. While the points against were bad the TOP killed them. Bill is an advocate of not giving up the big play. I'd prefer they give up a few more big plays and avoid the death by paper cuts. If their 3rd down conversion percentage is like it's been the last few years at the end of the year I'm not going to be impressed.
That's only partially true, everlong. Having a 2-0 turnover stat against you (the Safety and Pick) really can really skew the TOP in favor of one team, especially when they happen early in drives like they did to the Pats.
 

everlong

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
That's only partially true, everlong. Having a 2-0 turnover stat against you (the Safety and Pick) really can really skew the TOP in favor of one team, especially when they happen early in drives like they did to the Pats.

It's a fair point but the Giants were still 5/11 on third downs and one of those was on 3rd and 3 and an offsides penalty not only gave the Giants first and goal but negated a turnover.
 

Off The Grid

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Re the comments from Reiss on the "new look" defense...

I think the writing was on the wall in last year's draft when they caused so much fan agony by passing on the 5-tech prospects like Wilkerson and Hayward.

Then replay this year, using the names Reyes and Still -- and moving up for Hightower, who would have been a 3rd ILB in an old-style Patriots defense.

This team has been deliberately built in a different shape. Yes, they can still show that 2-gap 3-4 look if desired, but it doesn't put their very best personnel on the field, and I don't expect to see it very regularly.

Next year: one more stud 4-3 DT.

Yes, indeed!! :D

In my view, Reiss has been incredibly slow to pick up on the change.

After all, everybody knows we played a ton of "43" and such, last year.

And Coach Bill the Mad (Genius) ~ in drafting Chandler Jones, Donte HighTower, and Jake Bequette ~ couldn't possibly have made his intentions more obvious for this year...and the Future!! :rocker:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top