New England Patriots: 2 reasons why the defense won’t measure up

New England Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones (52) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones (52) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots have decided to roll the dice big-time in 2022 on their defense and chances are the unit is going to regress. They had to get better defensively this offseason, but their lack of offseason moves is concerning. This contrasts their offense, which by all intents and purposes, looks ready to break out under precocious second-year quarterback, Mac Jones.

Yet, as the old saying attributed to legendary Alabama Head Coach Bear Bryant, goes, “offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships”. Whether that’s actually true or not is subject to conjecture, but one thing is perfectly clear; having a good defense to complement a possibly very good offense ain’t a bad thing to have at all.

The New England Patriots offense may be great in 2022. Nice pieces have been added to possibly see that to fruition. But on the other side of the ball, not enough was done to bolster the defense despite having lots of resources to do just that.

The New England Patriots failed to strengthen their defense enough

If Bryant was correct, then the New England Patriots have been remiss this offseason in not bolstering the defensive side of the ball sufficiently in either free agency or the draft. That supposition rests on their activity, or lack thereof, on the first two levels of the defense; the defensive line and the linebacking crew.

First, on the defensive line, the Patriots have done little at all to strengthen it. This has been a problem that the team has faced for a while. The only addition on the d-line was sixth-round draft pick Sam Roberts from Northwest Missouri State. Rather than diminishing this pick, this space likes it. Roberts was a small college stud and did what a top player is supposed to do in those situations; dominate. He could very well be a steal. Let’s hope so.

Absent that, however, the Patriots activities to bolster their lackluster defensive line were basically non-existent. This was with a unit that didn’t generate enough pass rush and couldn’t contain major nemesis, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, when it counted. That was costly, very costly.

Chowder And Champions
Chowder And Champions /

Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!

Write for us!

This is an inexcusable omission considering that the team picked 10 players in the 2022 NFL Draft. They are relying on average players when they needed to upgrade to much more than average. They failed to do so and that will be a major issue this season.

New England Patriots linebacking situation is a risky gamble

The second issue with the defense is the linebacker corps. It is full of injury and inexperience risks, and despite almost the entirety of Patriot Nation desiring major draft activity in that direction, nothing materialized. That would be none – as in zero. The team, though they had on several occasions an opportunity to do so, decided not to draft a single linebacker.

That would be somewhat odd in any year, but in a year where they jettisoned two of their top linebackers in Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, it seems even more bizarre. Instead, they are relying on a slew of question marks.

One of those guys is Raekwon McMillan, a good player coming off a season-long injury. They are also placing hopes on Mack Wilson, a linebacker with an injury history who was acquired in a trade for third-round Patriots flop, Chase Winovich, to come in and potentially start right off the bat too.And, to round things off, they are also seemingly counting on 2021 fifth-round draft pick Cameron McGrone, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury.

Also factoring into the equation are two former high draft picks, Josh Uche a second-rounder, and Anfernee Jennings a third-rounder. Neither of them has made much of a difference in their first two years. Ostensibly, much is expected from them this season as well.

Next. Mac Jones turning his skeptics into believers. dark

All this adds up to one thing. That would be lots of question marks all over the first two levels of the defense. As much as myopic Patriots fans would like to excuse this situation, the reality is that this is a less than ideal situation.

Time will tell if this assessment is correct. But, it sure looks like they are gambling on lots of question marks, and in the NFL, that kind of gambling can result in snake eyes.