We’ve hit December, and the Patriots aren’t even close to figuring out a consistent defensive lineup.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald points out that the Patriots started three new players out of nowhere on their defense Sunday against the Colts, including a wide receiver. That wide receiver wasn’t Julian Edelman.
Starting at safety against Indy: Nathan Jones and Matthew Slater. Jones was signed last week. Slater is a wide receiver and special teams player. He moved to safety last week. (He played safety sparingly at college at UCLA.)
The fun doesn’t stop there. The team started Niko Koutouvides at linebacker. The career special teamer hasn’t started a game on defense since 2004. He’s on his fourth team in the last five years.
While the Patriots defense gave up 21 fourth quarter points, they looked decent building up a 31-3 lead. Slater, Jones, and Koutouvides were three of the top four leading tacklers on the team.
Slater had seven tackles and forced a fumble. Koutouvides had six tackles and held up in coverage.
At some point, this all figures to catch up with the Patriots. But that point may not come until deep into January in Foxborough.
By then, perhaps Bill Belichick will have found a lineup he can stick with.