Pats' defense: Getting better all the time


Pats' defense: Getting better all the time

The Patriots have played better defensively in their last two games -- they allowed an average of only 316 yards in wins over the Jets and Cowboys, compared to 467.5 in Weeks 1-4 -- and that begs the question: Is the improvement for real?

Michael Felger and Fred Smerlas think so. Steve DeOssie's not so sure.

"I saw better pursuit to the ball, better pass rush, and guys were more stout up front," Smerlas, the ex-NFL lineman, said on 'Sports Sunday'. "Albert Haynesworth was getting off the ball a little better, but moving better when he got off the ball."

Felger, the show's host, agreed.

"I like their defensive line in general," he said. "Andre Carter's been good, I think Kyle Love has been good, Vince Wilfork has been great, I think you mix in the Mark Andersons of the world, and Shaun Ellis . . . all those moves they made, up front anyway, have worked. I think they are better up front."

But DeOssie isn't ready to sign off just yet.

"Better, but not as good as the numbers would indicate," the NFL veteran said, later explaining: "There's still too many missed tackles in the secondary . . . and you still have to do better against the big receivers."

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Will Martellus Bennett be back with the Patriots next season?

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's "a real possibility" Bennett leaves given the asking price and potential offers.

Less than an hour later, the unrestricted free agent sent out a tweet responding to speculation about his future.

Bennett, who will 30 years old in March, had seven touchdowns in 19 games in his first season with the New England Patriots. 


Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.