Posted Sep. 16 at 01:09 AM
New England's defense was a disappointment a year ago, but we expected them to bounce back this season. One week into the season, it looks like a mixed bag.
The Patriots' secondary, bolstered by stealing talented cornerback Leigh Bodden in free agency and the emergence of safety Brandon Meriweather, as well as adding Shawn Springs, is definitely better. Bodden was a good player in Cleveland who didn't fit with Detroit's defensive system (such as it was) a year ago. Meriweather, the team's first round pick in 2007, is a big hitter who makes plays. That secondary did a nice job on Terrell Owens and Lee Evans Monday night.
In the front seven, though, there's cause for concern. Star linebacker Jerod Mayo sprained his MCL on Monday; this being the Patriots, it's anyone's guess how long he'll be out. His loss, however, will be felt, as will that of Richard Seymour, traded to Oakland. New England's run defense, certainly, didn't look nearly as intimidating against Buffalo as it has in the past.
For now, we'll remain optimistic about this defense, which recorded 4 sacks and forced 3 fumbles against Buffalo (including a game-deciding one on special teams). Our guess, however, is that Mayo's loss will prove costly -- the team's run defense in particular will suffer. It will be interesting to see how they fare at the Jets, who might have a better than expected offense, and against the balanced attack of the Falcons the next two weeks.
Posted by BARRY BROWN | Sep. 16 at 07:38 AM
Couldn't agree more. Seymour and Mayo were the team's best two players on defense, no? I even heard Ted Bruschi (on the MNF pre-game show) say, "... this is Jerod Mayo's defense now". I just hope it doesn't cause Brady & Co. to watch most of their games from the sidelines.
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