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02 Oct 2010
Our Monday Night Football feature this week is on the struggling Patriots' defense, with a particular focus on their injury woes and how bad cornerback Darius Butler has been.
Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 02 Oct 2010
10 comments, Last at
05 Oct 2010, 8:04pm by
I stopped reading after "Brady's Week 1 knee injury turned over the starting job to Matt Cassel, and the Patriots promptly went from 16-0 to out of the playoffs."
Does the author know that the Patriots went 11-5 that season? Or that New England finished the season with the third-highest offensive yardage total in team history (365.4 yards per game)?
I also stopped reading because I don't have ESPN Insider, but that is besides the point.
11-5 against the 28th hardest schedule in 2008 compared to 16-0 against the 10th hardest schedule in 2007.
It's still hard to say that the offense had really anything to do with missing the playoffs. IMO.
I'd say he knows all that. There was nothing incorrect about what he wrote. The team was 16-0 with Brady the prior season, and when he got hurt the following season they missed the playoffs.
The simple answer is that the team is very young in the secondary. The oldest guy there is Meriweather, and he's only 26. From what I've seen of Butler over the last couple of years, he's just not fit to be a starting corner yet, and a rookie like McCourty is going to struggle no matter how much potential he has. The injury to Leigh Bodden hurt this team in a place where it was already very thin.
The pass rush was the biggest problem the Pats had heading into last offseason, and I don't think they did much to rectify it. Now a linebacker who can't even run the 40-yard dash in five seconds is in the starting set, and Tully Banta-Cain, who was mostly a special teamer until last year, is the best pass rusher they've got.
If the defense doesn't "gel" soon, the Patriots are going to have a tough road ahead. They may have a spectacular offense for the third time in four years, but Rivers, Manning, Cutler, Rodgers, and maybe even Favre will hang 40+ on them at this rate. The way they're playing, I'd say we're looking at a 9-7 team, if that.
I will maintain to my grave that Darius Butler is on the Jet's payroll, because he gave that game away and completely broke the spirit of the Patriots. He single-handedly made Sanchez look like a Pro Bowl QB.
I'm more confident that the rest of the defense will improve. We knew going into the season that the number of first-year-starters was high and going to make the defense suck early, so I am not going into panic mode when that happens.
The Patriots had a lot more problems in that game than Butler. They were gouged up and down the field. I don't do panic, but I see no reason to think this defense will get a lot better over the rest of the season. It would be a huge improvement if they got up to mediocre before the season ended. Maybe by the end of next season, if they use both first round draft choices wisely and get very very lucky.
Injuries have left Bill Belichick little to work with
Of course, if GM Bill Belichick had been doing a better job, perhaps coach Bill Belichick would have more to work with.
I have said for 3 years now:
I doesn't matter how many goddamn cornerbacks Bellichick drafts, or how good they are, if he doesn't do a god damn thing to address the pass rush.
They could have Revis, Assomugh, and Jesus playing the slot, and they still wouldn't be able to cover with the amount of time QBs have.
I'm a dolphin fan... Ouch (41-14).... before the game I also have my doubts about their defense and their weak CBs, but after watching yesterday game I see very solid the Pat's defense, they generate 20 points ... My doubts have been cleared ...
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Offensive line problems highlight the needs in the NFC North ... except in Chicago, which is kind of unsettling to think about.
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