Patriots’ ‘Boogeymen’ at center of defensive dominance

Andy Hart
October 09, 2019 - 2:54 pm

The Patriots dominant, historic, No. 1 defense has been good in just about every area to open the season.

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But if one group of players were to be highlighted for their contributions to New England’s silly-good start to the year on defense it would likely have to be the linebacker corps led by Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.

The trio has combined for 57 tackles, nine sacks, three interceptions, 16 QB hits, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery through five games.

Like most great defenses, the group now as a catchy nickname to go along with its impressive play.

That’s right, “The Boogeymen” are bidding to join the ranks of the Legion of Boom” Seahawks, “Steel Curtin” Steelers, “Purple People Eaters” Vikings and even New England’s own “Homeland Defense” unit of the early 2000s.

Apparently, the unique nickname, which Van Noy and others are already attempting to turn into a line of apparel, is the brainchild of Collins.

Not only has Collins brought Defensive Player of the Year-type numbers to his second tour through New England – through five games he leads the Patriots with 26 tackles while adding 4.5 sacks, seven QB hits, three interceptions (including one for a touchdown), four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery – but also some creative branding for the group. While Collins is pretty soft-spoken and doesn’t spend much time chatting with the media, it was Hightower who revealed the nickname to the world following Sunday’s latest dominant defensive effort in Washington.

“I’m going to continue to make fun of them for that,” safety Devin McCourty joked on Tuesday of the nickname.

Running back James White was a bit more willing to embrace it.

“I think it's pretty clever,” White said. “Big, scary guys, right?”

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