Patriots’ dominant defense knows Bill Belichick will see room for improvement

Andy Hart
September 23, 2019 - 9:27 am
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Through three games this season, the Patriots defense has yet to allow a touchdown.

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The unit hasn’t allowed a single point in the last two weeks.

Hasn’t allowed a first-half point in five straight games dating back to the divisional playoff last season against the Chargers.

Led by linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty the unit is playing elite football from front to back against both the run and the pass, even if recently against some questionable competition.

But to a man, the players on the field believe that they can do more and be better.

They know that certainly Bill Belichick will point out where that improvement can come from while breaking down the film from Sunday’s 30-14 win over the Jets in which New York failed to convert a single third-down (0-for-12) and was essentially rendered non-competitive for 60 minutes of quarterback Luke Falk’s first NFL start, scoring its points on defense and special teams thanks only to New England mistakes.

“If you ever sit in a Bill Belichick meeting, don't worry. He'll find it,” McCourty said of areas capable of being even better. “So we'll come in here [Monday] and he'll have it broken down. Whether it's run technique, whether it's pass-rush games up front, leveraging coverage, depth on the safeties on the half-field, on the middle. All of those fundamentals he'll have down. When that film goes up on that board, you'll see the corrections at the top for each number, each guy out there. So you'll never have to worry about finding the corrections out there. He finds them and he knows football as well as anybody, so we take that to heart when we come in here. And I think one thing is we've just got to continue to get good at everything. You guys have seen it through the years. Defensively, we're always trying to be in different things and have multiples, so we've just got to continue to improve on all of those phases.”

“He is going to point out everything that we didn't do well and he's going to highlight it,” fellow safety Duron Harmon added. “At the end of the day, you need that. Like you said, we're hearing so much about how good we are and this and that, but at the end of the day it is Week 3. How can we improve, how can we get better to take this defense to another level, another step so that we can continue to win football games."

It’s certainly impressive how the Patriots defense has played through three games, especially for a unit that’s had some slow, bumpy September starts in the past.

As much as the group appears to be picking up where it left on dominant Super Bowl LIII performance to beat the high-powered Rams, the players know that there is also the need to maintain and even build on the current level of play as the season wears on and the competition grows stronger.

“It's been everybody's dedication each day in practice to try and make our defense as good as possible, and then all we talk about each day is improving,” McCourty concluded. “I've been here a long time. If you don't improve throughout September, October, it won't matter because no team is going to be the same later in the season. Every team is going to get better. So I think we're on that same chase to see how good we can get.”

Considering how good the Patriots defense is right now, that has to be a scary thought for the opposition.

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