My Slant: Patriots defense - 2011 vs 2012?


My Slant: Patriots defense - 2011 vs 2012?

Tom E. Curran makes the comparison between last year's Patriots defense and this year's edition.

We know, the defense has been bad, but Curran has something to say about it.

"These defensive passing numbers through eight games, 2,544 passing yards against, a 65 completion rate, 41 pass plays of more than 20 yards, 48 third down conversion rate, 14 touchdowns given up. Awful right? A team either already mired in disaster or headed there."

But wait...

Those are the Patriots defensive numbers from last year.

They were 5-3 at that point and went on to reach the Super Bowl.

This year's squad has allowed fewer yards (2,102), the same completion percentage, better on third down, more TDs (16), and fewer completions (39) of 20 yards.

So as Curran notes, the Patriots have won with numbers like this and they can do it again. But is that a route the Patriots have to take? Do they have to make it that difficult on themselves?

Look a little further back. Curran says with the exception of Rodney Harrison, who was a top-5 player at his position, the talent level is about the same between the successful Patriots defenses and the defense of today. In fact, this year's defense is younger and faster than the Harrison-led defenses.

But when you look at the defenses of the Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennel years, problems got fixed and didn't re-surface. We're still seeing the same problems we've seen for the last two years on defense.

So is it coaching?

Is it players?