New England Patriots: 3 players primed to spook Justin Herbert

New England Patriots (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The big question entering Week 8 for the New England Patriots is if they can finally get over the hump this season and beat a good football team.  More directly, can the defense find a way to slow down second-year quarterback Justin Herbert and that Los Angeles Chargers offense.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense did have success limiting Herbert a year ago, but that was his rookie season and he’s playing like one of the top quarterbacks in the league so far this season.  Not only will the Patriots have to worry about his arm, but they also have to find a way to keep him in the pocket and not let him hurt them with his scrambling ability.

New England Patriots defense out to frighten Justin Herbert

Speaking to the media on Friday, Belichick talked about Herbert’s mobility and the challenge he presents, especially with the weapons he must throw the ball to.

"“Pass rush and pass coverage are very closely related,” Belichick said, via “Without one, the other won’t be effective if you don’t have both of them. That’s our goal, defensively, as it always is, is to make the quarterback get the ball out on time or have the coverage to make him hold it for a split-second longer than he wants to. That’s based on disguise or tight coverage or whatever it is, then that gives the pass rush that extra split-second to get there, and if the pass rush is good, then it allows the coverage to move a little quicker to get on the matches they have, whether it be man or zone. Good pass rush with open receivers isn’t really good. You can’t cover these receivers in this league all day, so even if you have them covered for a little while, if the quarterback extends the play and you don’t have any pass rush, they’re eventually going to get open.”"

If the Patriots defense is to make things scary for Herbert on Halloween, they will have to keep him on his toes and find ways to cause him to…well…see ghosts.  Belichick has had success with this with some other young quarterbacks around the league, but Herbert is a different kind of monster.

So, in looking at the Week 8 matchup against the Chargers and keeping with the theme of Halloween, here are three Patriots defensive players primed to spook the second-year talented quarterback.