Bill Belichick reveals key to Patriots D

Andy Hart
October 28, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Through eight wins this season, the Patriots defense is playing at a level never before seen in New England and comparable to some of the greatest units in NFL history.

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At the undefeated midpoint of the season the Patriots have allowed a mere 61 points, on pace to allow only 122 for the season, a number that would shatter the 2000 Ravens’ NFL record of 165 points allowed.

New England has 25 takeaways in eight games, on pace for 50 which would set a new franchise record (41, 2003) and could even get into the stratosphere of the 1984 Seahawks’ NFL mark of 63.

Bill Belichick’s defense has also reached midseason with 31 sacks, on pace for 62 which would likewise be a new franchise record and approach the rare air of the 1984 Bears’ NFL record of 72.

So it was that Bill Belichick was asked in his Monday morning day-after-game conference call what the biggest factor in his team’s success this was on defense this season.

Those who don’t think Belichick answers honestly should probably sit down before reading his response.

“Good players,” Belichick revealed.

While true, given that the coach often emphasizes that neither he nor his assistants ever make a tackle, record a sack or force a turnover, personnel may not be the lone answer for the remarkable start to 2019. Though there are a coupe key additions to the depth chart, most notably versatile, playmaking linebacker Jamie Collins’ return to New England, the bulk of the talent is the same as a year ago when the defense wasn’t nearly as productive or dominant. Heck, the Patriots even lost mainstay defensive end Trey Flowers to a $90 million free agent contract this offseason.

So, given that many of the players are the same, has Belichick seen any major difference in the unit to lead to the success over the first two months of the new season?

“I think a lot of players are playing well,” Belichick reiterated. “They're good players, they're playing well, having experience in the system with guys like Jason [McCourty> and John Simon, [Ja'Whaun> Bentley, guys like that, Danny Shelton, guys that have seen this stuff now for a couple of years instead of a few weeks or half a season. I think that's certainly making a difference. J.C. [Jackson's> certainly another guy that falls into that category. [Terrence> Brooks and [Shilique> Calhoun, [Chase> Winovich, those guys, [Jamie> Collins obviously, guys that weren't on the team last year – they've all been productive. It's really a confluence of factors that have all come together and we have a lot of good players playing well in different combinations that work well with each other. It's a good place to be.”

Indeed it is.

Related: Two big plays keyed Patriots victory