Bill Belichick is expected to preside over a head-turning defense in addition to a Super Bowl-contending team.
NFL Media’s Adam Schein ranked the Patriots defense the league’s sixth-best on the “Top-Nine Defenses for 2019” list he published Tuesday. The defense is one of the most exciting units of the Patriots’ team, with the likes quarterback Tom Brady and ESPN’s Damien Woody talking up its potential in recent weeks.
Schein’s admiration for New England’s defense centers around Belichick’s large role, a “terrific” secondary and quality linebackers and defensive linemen.
“Bill Belichick himself might be calling the defensive plays for New England this season following Brian Flores’ departure for Miami, so the entire NFL should be on notice,” Schein wrote. “BREAKING: The man can coach! It helps that he has the bulk of the unit that held the high-flying Rams to three points in Super Bowl LIII returning intact.
“The secondary is terrific, with Stephon Gilmore, the McCourty brothers, Patrick Chung and last year’s undrafted gem, J.C. Jackson. … Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been a perfect fit for the Patriots and is coming off a career year. The Pats did let a key piece from last year’s team depart in Trey Flowers, but they acquired Michael Bennett, who has the third-most QB hits (103) in the NFL since 2015, to help fill the void. The return of Jamie Collins — one of eight players with 100 or more tackles and 10 or more tackles for loss in 2018 — is a strong addition, as well.
“And did I mention they are getting coached up by Bill Belichick? No one’s better.”
The Patriots currently don’t have a defensive coordinator or defensive backs coach, and Belichick is expected to lead the unit, while linebackers coach Jerrod Mayo looks set to call the plays. Furthermore, Belichick appears to be shifting from a four-man defensive line to a three-man front, adding another puzzle for opponents to solve this year.
And since we’re not in the business of doubting Belichick’s prowess in this part of the world, we only can assume Schein either has pegged the Patriots defense properly or perhaps even underrated it.