Patriots Poised for Defensive Breakout


Tom Brady has finally been united with a partner that he has been waiting for since his last Super Bowl win.

It’s not a wide receiver, running back, or tight end, though. It’s the Patriots defense as a whole. The Pats’ defensive unit has been ranked by some as a top five NFL defense coming into this season.

Throughout 2013, the Patriots defense struggled. It was emphasized by a 10-point AFC Championship loss to the Broncos that the Patriots’ defense was simply not good enough to win a Super Bowl.

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Defending the pass was one of the weakest parts of the Patriots’ game last season. The Patriots have ranked 25th or lower in yards allowed throughout the past 4 seasons. Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, and Patrick Chung all had a hard time last season in defending long passes as well as slot routes. Even with CB Aqib Talib, who was successful in shutting down the pass when he wasn’t injured, the Patriots still struggled defensively.

“Revis Island alongside Browner shuts down the passing game, leaving Wilfork and the defensive line to cover the run.”

Bill Belichick hopes that with the signing of shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Patriots can effectively contain the top wide receiver on almost any team. Revis fills Aqib Talib’s role from last season with an even stronger presence on the defensive side of the ball. A major hole that the Patriots have desperately been trying to patch up has been addressed as Revis Island drifts over to New England.

Let’s not forget two other crucial parts of the equation from last year that was missing – Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Both Wilfork and Mayo suffered from season ending injuries last season, but in 2012 they were both important parts of defending the run. In 2012, Mayo led the Patriots in tackles, and Wilfork led the defensive line with 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. This season, Wilfork and Mayo return to the field. Their stellar defense of the run game will compliment the newfound defense of the passing game of the Patriots.

The loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the playoffs last year eclipses the fact the Patriots were only one win away from their 6th Super Bowl appearance in the Brady era. After adding Revis, former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, lineman Dominique Easley, and wide receiver Brandon LaFell, it looks like the Patriots could very realistically keep going past the AFC Championship game and on to the Super Bowl this season.

The Patriots’ upgraded defense is a fitting example of quality over quantity. It’s simple – Revis Island alongside Browner shuts down the passing game, leaving Wilfork and the defensive line to cover the run. To the opposing team’s offensive coordinator, the aspect of Revis changes the entire strategy of the offense.

With their new revamped defense, the Patriots may have just found their key leading to their first Super Bowl victory in almost a decade.