NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran was on WEEI with Gresh and Keefe this week and he believes there’s a philosophy change coming for the Patriots on the defensive side of the football.
Given some of the personnel moves already this offseason, Curran already believes that the approach will change by Bill Belichick and the coaching staff defensively in 2022. He feels we’ll likely see a shift that focuses more toward a zone defense, which will be a bit of an adjustment but given what’s going on right now in both the AFC East and around the league, it makes sense.
“I think they’re going to be a zone defense,” said Curran. “They’re going to be fast at linebacker and there’s going to be a lot of safeties on the field who can hit and cover and run and they’re going to try and weaponize themselves to deal with the AFC East competition, which is very fast offenses with mobile quarterbacks. You don’t want to play man against [Bills quarterback] Josh Allen anyway, otherwise, he’s going to be running up your backs because he can scramble. You want to play zone so you can keep eyes on him. So I think that’s the way they’re trending.”
One thing Curran also touched on is the fact that the Patriots could be making a shift personnel-wise to more safeties and faster linebackers, which may not make size as big of a priority. A player who comes to mind is Georgia’s Nakobe Dean, who despite being 5’11” has the speed and skill set to possibly fit what they’re potentially looking at doing on defense.
“I think Nakobe Dean from Georgia would be kind of that ideal guy,” said Curran. “[He] can be on the field all three downs. Who’s the power running game the Patriots have to deal with, really? Not a ton. It’s more running, read-option quarterbacks…just, be able to get Josh Allen down.”
As for a potential free agent to help their secondary, he believes we could see the return of Jason McCourty. The brother of safety Devin McCourty excelled in that role in his previous stint and Curran believes it’s possible we could potentially see him come back to the club for another run this offseason.
“I think they’re going to play a zone defense,” said Curran. “There still might be an opportunity for a guy like Jason McCourty to come back to add that. I don’t think he was a bad player by any stretch when he was here. He’s older, he’s coming back from plantar fascia and I spoke to him a little bit yesterday and he’d like to play. He’s still trying to rehab that.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Portions of this appeared in this morning’s daily news/notes column)
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2022 Patriots Offseason New England Patriots