Root of Pats’ secondary problems remains a mystery

Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty have rarely been in position to make a play on the ball this season.

It took a last-second, game-tying field goal and then another one in overtime to escape the Jets on Sunday.

Let that sink in for a second.
 
New England should have come out firing on all cylinders after last Sunday – they didn’t. Yes, they won, which shouldn’t go overlooked, but for order to be restored, a blowout was necessary.

Go ahead, call us spoiled.
 
Instead, it was more of the same. The Patriots offense was down to earth. The secondary was torched (by Mark Sanchez, nonetheless). And for the second straight week, the Patriots blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead to an offensively challenged opponent.
 
It makes you wonder: are the Patriots just not that great? Are they just one of the other (mediocre) AFC teams?

At 4-3, it’s clear the offense can no longer make up for the sorry excuse for defense they’ve played over the last few years.

But Patriots coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia don’t want to talk about the past, and aren’t willing (or don’t really know how) to explain lapses like why they give up big yardage plays through the air.
 
“It’s definitely a point of emphasis every week. There’s no defense that’s designed to give up 50-yard pass completions or anything like that,” Belichick said. “That’s really the worst thing that can happen defensively, is for the offense to get all their yardage or score on one play and not make them drive the ball and execute a number of plays and third down and red area and goal line and all those situations.”
 
It obviously happened against Seattle, but if you’re looking for a bright spot in the secondary, they didn’t allow a long TD against the Jets.

“They have to drive it and it gives you a chance to stop them and we did that a couple times and came close to blocking one of the field goals,” Belichick said. “You make your opponent work to get their points and work to get their yardage.”
 
Still, allowing 328 yards to Sanchez isn’t ideal, and more games like it could end up being the team’s ultimate downfall.

“I think it really comes down to us just trying to get better every week and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Patricia said.
 
Keep trying.


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