Dont’a Hightower: New England Patriots defense will ‘absolutely’ improve

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Dont'a Hightower
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Dont'a Hightower /

New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower is confident the team will turn things around, but first have to hold each other accountable.

While New England Patriots head coach says there is no “magic wand” to correcting the defense, veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower is holding faith that things will get much better.

As part of the worst ranked defense in the NFL, Hightower has not been on the field for all four games, but knows improvement starts with each man on the field holding each other accountable for their role in the defense.

"“That’s something myself, as well as the other guys out there, it’s on all of us,” Hightower said, via ESPN.  “We’ve got to hold each other to a higher standard than that.  That starts today.  We know where we have to be at and what we have to do.  The time is now.  There’s no more next week or any other s—.  We have to get going.”"

That sounds like a player fed up with how his unit has been performing.  It also sounds like a player who knows where the improvement needs to come from.  Each man on that defensive unit has to play better, has to do their job and as Hightower went on to point out, they have to focus on the small details that will lead to big plays.

The small details lead to big plays

"“That’s where it starts.  The small things matter,” Hightower continued.  “The big plays and all that stuff, obviously, it’s easy for guys to see that.  But it’s the small things that happen; getting that little bit of extra pressure on the quarterback, that extra knock back on the line of scrimmage, that extra knock back on the center or the quick jam at the line of scrimmage.”More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win"

Ironically, the New England Patriots did get pressure on Cam Newton towards the end of the game.  Hightower had a huge sack that gave the offense the ball back to tie the game. On the next series, the Panthers appeared stopped again following a Deatrich Wise sack.  Coincidentally, it was a hand to the face penalty on Stephon Gilmore that negated the sack and led to the game-winning field goal.

Gilmore was doing exactly what Hightower said.  He was giving a quick jam at the line, but couldn’t control his hands from sliding up towards the face of the receiver.  Those are the little details that can also prevent big plays as we were witnessed to last Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

In all Dont’a Hightower believes in his teammates and knows they can “absolutely” become a better unit.

Next: New England Patriots: Secondary success begins with Devin McCourty

They better, or this season can quickly turn into one of the worst the team has endured in quite a long time.