5 Patriots on the Hot Seat Over Final Four Games of Season

Unless these Patriots turn things around down the stretch, don't count on their having much of a future in New England.

Head coach Bill Belichick is one of five Patriots on the hot seat over the final four games.
Head coach Bill Belichick is one of five Patriots on the hot seat over the final four games. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Josh Uche

Patriots fans had high hopes for Josh Uche after breaking out last season. Playing 15 games without a start, the promising linebacker finished his third NFL campaign with 11.5 sacks, 23 solo tackles, nine tackles for lost yardage, and two forced fumbles.

Fast forward to 2023 and Uche hasn't been nearly as effective. He's played 11 games (2 starts) thus far, tallying only two sacks, five solo tackles, and one tackle for a loss. You can't even blame a lack of playing time for the decline considering that he's averaging 22 defensive snaps per game this season compared to 24.9 last year — hardly a big difference.

After looking special in 2022, Uche has looked mediocre more often than not this time around, highlighted by the shift in the below Pro Football Focus grades:

Year

Defense Grade

Run Defense Grade

Pass Rush Grade

Tackling Grade

Coverage Grade

2022

83.1

63.7

87.8

59.6

51.8

2023

59.2

63.6

68.4

50.8

29.5

Taking the Patriots' offensive struggles into account, chances are that Uche and the rest of the defense will see the field quite often across the next four games. His rookie contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he must use every opportunity he gets to prove that he belongs in New England's future plans.