FOXBORO -- New England doesn't have the worst passing defense in the league. Not statistically.
No, four of the league's 31 other teams -- Tennessee, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington -- give up more than the Patriots' average 288.8 yards per game.
Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard spoke for the secondary two days after New England's latest ugly effort, a 24-23 loss to Seattle. Therein, another rook, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, was allowed six passes of 20-plus yards. The Patriots have now surrendered 33 receptions of that length.
That stat is worst in the league.
Dennard was asked Tuesday why the deep ball has been such a nightmare.
"Honestly, I'm not sure. I'd say sometimes the quarterback kind of lulls us to sleep," Dennard said. "They do a lot of running, then all of a sudden they hit you with the play action . . . big plays like that. You've got to stay focused out there."
Lulled to sleep by Wilson? Before playing New England, almost 60-percent of the quarterback's passes were of 9 or fewer yards. But his game-winning touchdown pass was a 46-yard missile.
Dennard agreed with a reporter who posited on Bill Belichick's defense being a complicated one.
"It's very tough just because you've got to stay very focused on what you have to do out there on the field. I'm not going to say you've got to be real focused on one thing -- you've got to be focused on a lot of things because there's a lot of stuff you have to learn. You've got to have your technique on point, you have to mirror the receiver, you have to know what the receiver's going to do before you go out there."
Clearly, there's still work to be done.
"It's a lot of stuff that's got to do with technique," Dennard said of his performance Sunday. "I know I messed up a lot of stuff with my technique. After watching film, there's a lot of stuff I have to work on."
He's not the only one.