The Patriots offense has been the main talk of the offseason. What with the Aaron Hernandez craziness, Rob Gronkowski's possible PUP list designation and Wes Welker's messy departure from the squad (plus his subsequent telling of his contentious relationship with Belichick in Sports Illustrated), it's hard not to gravitate toward that side of the ball.
Yet, there is a defense to be taken of. And with Tom Brady manning the helm of the offense, the most concern still lies with the 11 men paid to prevent a team from scoring.
Patriots Football Weekly's Paul Perillo and WEEI's Kirk Minihane offered their takes on the defensive side of the Patriots roster.
Perillo agreed with the idea that despite all of the turmoil surrounding the offense this offseason (main exception being Alfonzo Dennard's troubles), the other side of the ball is a greater cause for concern.
"Look, to me this team is still all about how much better can the defense be, I think the offense, even with all the losses, we know that Tom Brady as long as he's healthy, we're going to be able to move the ball and score points, I have faith in that," Perillo said. "To me I want to see the defense get better. I want to see them build off of what they did against Tampa Bay, that's what I'm hoping for."
The Patriots certainly saw their defense improve dramatically in the second half of the season, largely fueled by the cornerback tandem of Aqib Talib and Dennard.
But, Talib's unavailability for the final three quarters of the AFC Championship Game showed just how thin the secondary remains, as the loss of a single cornerback gave Joe Flacco the green light to torch the Pats secondary. Dennard's status is also completely up in the air, with a potential suspicion on DUI charge looming.
Can this still be the rock solid (but not spectacular) defense that manifested itself at the end of last year's regular season.
Minihane sure thinks so.
"Top-10 in the league, top third in the league? Yeah, I can see that because that's the way they were trending at the end of last year and Paul's right they looked good last week," Minihane said. "Again, I don't know what that means and what that doess for me, but yeah given their younger guys, and those guys should get better, could they be one of the 10, 12 best defenses in the league? Sure. I could buy that."