My Slant: Patriots defense - 2011 vs 2012?

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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?

Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

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Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

After being cut from the Detriot Lions last week, Stevan Ridely has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

The running back played for the Patriots for four seasons (2011-2014), averaging 4.3 yards per carry while scoring 22 touchdowns in 52 games. He only played in six game in his final year with New England as a result of a torn ACL and MCL.

Ridley played for the AFC-East rival New York Jets in 2015 with a limited role in the nine games he played.

 

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Dustin Pedroia will miss Sunday night's game against Kansas City to attend to a family matter, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.

Drellich also reports that Pedroia may miss Monday's game against Tampa Bay, too.

This of course comes after Pedroia went 11-for-11 over a three-game stretch, and saw the streak end in the eighth inning of Saturday's 8-3 win over the Royals.

Pedroia is batting .398 (37-for-93) through 24 games in August, with a .430 on-base percentage. Boston's second baseman is one of -- if not the -- team's hottest hitter this month, hitting .458 (33-for-72) since moving to the leadoff role.

Morning Skate: Rangers seem to be a strong candidate for Shattenkirk

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Morning Skate: Rangers seem to be a strong candidate for Shattenkirk

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with Bruins captain’s practice set to kick off this coming week.

*The Rangers sound like they’ll be a strong candidate for Kevin Shattenkirk, and the Dallas Stars seem willing to stand pat at the goalie position.

*PHT writer James O’Brien speculates on who might be the next Artemi Panarin to break into the NHL ranks from overseas, and make a big impact.

*Yahoo fantasy hockey is making some changes this season, and those that liked to draft Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Burns are going to bummed about it.

*An original St. Louis Blues jersey from the old time hockey days has found its way back to its original home in St. Louis.

*Steve Simmons says that Dave Bolland has earned the right to be more than a punch line at this point in his career.

*Looking back on Phil Esposito’s classic speech amid the 1972 Summit Series.

*The All-Snub team for the World Cup of Hockey would be a talented lineup, and would no doubt be captained by P.K. Subban.

*For something completely different: those looking for signs of a rift between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady need to call off the search.