FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower didn’t hesitate when asked if he’s confident his defense can pull it together this season.

“Absolutely,” Hightower said.

So, how do they ensure that happens?

“Play better.”

That sounds simple, and at its bare bones, it’s true. One aspect that needs fixing after the Patriots lost 33-30 to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday is their communication. So how do they go about fixing that issue?

“It’s just accountability,” Hightower said. “That’s something that I myself as well as the other 10 guys, 11, 12 guys, whoever’s out there, it’s on them to do. It’s on all of us. We gotta hold each other to a higher standard to that. That starts today. We had a so far productive meeting. We’re about to handle a couple more things. We know where we have to be at and what we gotta do. The time’s now. There’s no more next week or any other (expletive). We gotta get going.”

The Patriots have a short week before playing the Buccaneers on Thursday night in Tampa Bay. The best game the Patriots’ defense has played all season came on the road against another NFC South opponent when they beat the New Orleans Saints. Perhaps the short week can help the Patriots put their defensive woes behind them.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images