Defense was perceived as a weak spot for the New England Patriots the past few seasons. It’s safe to say that won’t be a narrative ahead of the 2019 NFL campaign.
As a matter of fact, defense might actually be the Patriots’ strong suit as they aim to repeat as Super Bowl champions for the second time since 2001. New England’s crew of linebackers can go toe-to-toe with any other corps in the league, and its loaded secondary is expected to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares on a weekly basis.
NFL.com columnist Adam Schein is awfully high on the Patriots’ defense ahead of the new season, as he currently has the unit tabbed as the sixth-best in the league. Personnel alone is enough to be in on New England’s defense, but Schein notes there’s another factor that could take it over the top.
Bill Belichick himself might be calling the defensive plays for New England this season following Brian Flores’ departure for Miami, so the entire NFL should be on notice. BREAKING: The man can coach! It helps that he has the bulk of the unit that held the high-flying Rams to three points in Super Bowl LIII returning intact.
The secondary is terrific, with Stephon Gilmore, the McCourty brothers, Patrick Chung and last year’s undrafted gem, J.C. Jackson. Gilmore is one of the very best corners in the league. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been a perfect fit for the Patriots and is coming off a career year. The Pats did let a key piece from last year’s team depart in Trey Flowers, but they acquired Michael Bennett, who has the third-most QB hits (103) in the NFL since 2015, to help fill the void. The return of Jamie Collins — one of eight players with 100 or more tackles and 10 or more tackles for loss in 2018 — is a strong addition, as well.
And did I mention they are getting coached up by Bill Belichick? No one’s better.
Schein isn’t the only one who’s excited to see the Patriots’ defense in action. Quarterback Tom Brady also can’t wait to watch his teammates stifle the opposition.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images