Patriots defensive backs say they’ve had communication breakdowns

AP

The Patriots are 2-2 with a quarter of their season in the books and their defense has been the major reason why the team has gotten off to a slower start than most people expected.

They’ve allowed at least 417 yards each game, which leaves them 32nd in the league, and gave up 444 to the Panthers in Sunday’s 33-30 loss. Carolina picked up 304 of those yards through the air and members of the New England secondary were on the same page after the game about why they’ve had so many breakdowns.

The issue is that they aren’t on the same page during the game. Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore joined safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon in pointing to poor communication as the culprit.

“It’s obviously something we need to work a little harder at,” Harmon said in comments distributed by the team. “Obviously what we’re doing is not good enough, so we need to go take a look in the mirror tonight and just look and realize. Are we doing enough to win? Are we doing enough to be good on defense? Are we doing enough to be a sound football team? Today we weren’t, especially on defense.”

McCourty said “you have to be concerned” about the way the defense is playing and Butler talked about the “urgency” of correcting the problems with four games already behind them, which makes it pretty clear where the focus should be as the Patriots prepare for a quick turnaround against the Buccaneers on Thursday.

29 responses to “Patriots defensive backs say they’ve had communication breakdowns

  1. .
    The Patriots Minister of Social Justice, Devon McCourty, had plenty of time last week to hobnob in New York City with Roger Goodell. Perhaps his time would have been better utilized figuring out where to line up. He’s a team captain and the quarterback of the secondary. I’ve never seen a more bewildered secondary in my life.
    .

  2. Well, whatever the reason, the Pats have given up almost as many points in just 3 home games than they did ALL last season at home.

    If not for some Brady heroics they’d be 1-3. Conversely, if not for a questionable facemask call they could be 3-1, hiding the liability the D has become

    In any event they just need to get things worked out and peak in the playoffs. This wouldn’t be the first Patriots Super Bowl winning team to look shaky in September.

  3. Hey fellas, let’s focus on playing football rather then making social statements. That’s what charitable foundations and the off-season is for. In case you haven’t noticed, and it appears you haven’t, it is football season.

    Ironically, Butler has been the most accountable. His play has improved as he has clearly taken it upon himself to get better. The rest of the secondary is lost.

  4. j0esixpack says:
    October 2, 2017 at 7:20 am
    Well, whatever the reason, the Pats have given up almost as many points in just 3 home games than they did ALL last season at home.

    If not for some Brady heroics they’d be 1-3. Conversely, if not for a questionable facemask call they could be 3-1, hiding the liability the D has become

    In any event they just need to get things worked out and peak in the playoffs. This wouldn’t be the first Patriots Super Bowl winning team to look shaky in September.
    ***********************************************************************
    But they’re planning the Super Bowl parade in Buffalo.

  5. “We need to communicate better”, “We’ll get things corrected, its a long season”, etc are all fine after week 1. Stretching it after week 2. Completely and utterly unacceptable for professionals after week 4. It is amateur hour watching the Patriots DBs screw up the coverage. When there are 2 receivers and 2 defenders on one side, and both defenders follow the same receiver, someone screwed up the coverage. And when things are going bad, they continue to go bad. Add in that even when they finally made a play, there were phantom hands to the face calls that undid them, they have a long way to go. I don’t know if I can remember the last time the Patriots, under Belichick, had a losing record at home (currently 1-2 in Foxboro). I just cant imagine how it is so hard to know which pass catcher you are covering. Not like they were playing zone on those break downs. Maybe they need more zone until they can get their act together

  6. As a Patriots fan you know it’s football season when my fellow Pats fans start calling for Patriots coaches to get fired. Because everyone knows if there is one team in the NFL that is poorly coached it’s got to be the Patriots. (Full Reche Caldwell eye roll)

    The real season starts on Thanksgiving. You just want to be in position for a run when the season starts.

  7. They’ve had communication breakdowns alright, the kind that lead to divorce.
    3 of the 4 d-backs mentioned were there last year when they operated very well as a unit so it isn’t hard to figure out who isn’t on the same page. They need to either dumb it down for Gilmore or sit him down.

  8. Contrary to what joe”my butt still hurts because we don’t have an NFL team” toronto says, there are no plans for “a Super Bowl parade” in Buffalo. Far from it. We’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends. The Pats will get better. However, your angst with Gilmore probably won’t end. Still can’t understand why he was considered such a great cover CB. What you’ve seen through 4 weeks is what we saw during his entire tenure in Buffalo…back breaking penalties and bad burns followed by finger pointing at teammates and palms facing the sky with arms spread wide. He is who he is…

  9. I liked Gilmore but not for half the money the pats gave him. And I never felt like butler was elite. I mean he played against: Palmer who has fallen off a cliff since the NFC championship game, Ryan tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Tyrod Taylor(x2), Charlie Whitehurst/Cody Kessler,Andy Dalton, Landry Jones in place of an injured Big Ben, Russel Wilson(who is elite), Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick(x2)/ Bryce Petty, Jared Goff, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, and Matt Moore. There are some decent qbs in there but only one who id label elite and three Id label as good, the rest are backups/ scrubs. So maybe the butler hype got a little exaggerated. Not saying he is a bad player but maybe not as great as anaylists would have us believe 😐

  10. Even the play where Butler intercepted the ball seemed suspect to me. It looks like he left a different receiver wide open before the throw to help double the deep receiver. True that the result was positive for us in that case, but it seems like a scenario that will get us burned more often than not. Am I misreading the play?

  11. Where are the Pats trolls, you know, Harrisonhits, pats 4life, etc, today? Oh yeah, their on the Jets and Broncos posts complaining about the officiating in those games and Goodell. Believe it or not!!

  12. audio2sell says:
    October 2, 2017 at 6:49 am
    McCourty should focus on football instead of how he plans on protesting. He totally screwed up calls and did not get the guys on same page.

    32 9 Rate This

    ————-

    I agree. McCourty is a captain as is Hightower. Enough with babying these captains. It’s ridiculous.

    Scapegoating Gilmore on Goodell bagjob calls is not going to work in my book.

    The biggest question I have is, how obvious will Goodell be with the refs on Thursday night?

  13. willycents says:
    October 2, 2017 at 10:52 am
    Where are the Pats trolls, you know, Harrisonhits, pats 4life, etc, today? Oh yeah, their on the Jets and Broncos posts complaining about the officiating in those games and Goodell. Believe it or not!!

    0 0 Rate This

    —————–

    Just be happy the commissioner doesn’t have an edict with officiating against your team to manipulate outcomes in the waning seconds. Once I saw the Off PI on Gronk in the 1st qtr as he simply ran a route, I knew it was going to come down to some funny business in favor of Carolina. The penalty on Amendola was also factually incorrect, as it wasn’t a pick.

    I won’t mention the “hold” by Chung on the second to last play before the FG either to try to get Gano closer. Oh wait, I just did.

    Boger’s crews called 19 accepted penalties last week and only 1 on Carolina yesterday, and that’s not even being at the game to see just how baldy the Pats receivers are mauled off camera, with no calls.

    It’s pretty clear this is an fundamental edict for teams to know they can maul the Pats receivers and it won’t be called, while if the Pats breather on a receiver, out come creepy flags on 3rd downs to extend drives.

    This only started with Goodell. This never happened under Rozelle or Tagliabue.

    You people are hilarious. You have it all and you don’t know it, and it’s because your owners. GMs, coaches and players are either mediocre or awful. So, the Pats have to pay for their successes.

    There is a reason why the ratings are tanking and it’s not all about players kneeling.

    Goodell wants parity and he is willing to openly cheat my team during games right in front of everyone, like never seen before in sports history.

    No other commissioner does stuff like this.

  14. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    October 2, 2017 at 10:01 am
    They’ve had communication breakdowns alright, the kind that lead to divorce.
    3 of the 4 d-backs mentioned were there last year when they operated very well as a unit so it isn’t hard to figure out who isn’t on the same page. They need to either dumb it down for Gilmore or sit him down.

    10 1 Rate This

    —————

    To be fair, though. Every single new CB that comes in has issues with how BB wants their schemes to be run and in zone.

    Just play man more so than you have and ask Gilmore, Butler, and Jonathan Jones in the slot to do their thing.

    The Pats coaches have a bad habit of over-analyzing at times, and that’s part of why the offense sputters during games and why there is confusion on the back end.

    There is such a thing with simplifying and allowing players to execute freely.

    It’s too early to be asking people to do too much and/or not have Hightower/McCourty calling plays and allowing, what is a very talented group, to have to think too much.

  15. testmicroblog22 says:
    October 2, 2017 at 10:42 am
    Even the play where Butler intercepted the ball seemed suspect to me. It looks like he left a different receiver wide open before the throw to help double the deep receiver. True that the result was positive for us in that case, but it seems like a scenario that will get us burned more often than not. Am I misreading the play?

    0 0 Rate This

    ——————

    I would say Gilmore is having a hard time adjusting to how BB plays zone D. It’s complex and not like other teams. It is surprising he’s not understanding what the zone play is based off of the formation at this point.

    I would just play more man and challenge teams more, have McCourty help shade at times over the top on the other team’s #1 WR and leave either Gilmore or Butler alone in press man on the other side.

    Once they can clean up the failed zone scheme, they can start to use it again with some confidence.

    BB likes to use zone to set the trap on QBs so they panic and hold the ball longer, and it’s a great way to create turnovers, but it’s not working at the moment.

    They can also be more aggressive around the line of scrimmage. They miss McClellin a lot so far this season, because he worked the line, the flat and in space in zone on the weakside, with his speed. But, it’s not like Van Noy didn’t do some of that last year either.

    For the time being, I’d use Marsh weakside, Van Noy strong side, and Hightower at the MIKE with Roberts at the WILL.

    I am assumimg McClellin returns after Week 6, but they just need to get through Week 6 and Atlanta, at home off a 10 day break to get to full strength. Maybe by then zone will be settled down and they can start using it more effectively.

  16. buffalo75vette says:
    October 2, 2017 at 8:03 am
    So how is that Gilmore pickup working out for you? Could have and should have used his money on a pass rusher.

    17 9 Rate This

    ————–

    Pass rush has been fine with Flowers, Wise, Butler and Marsh up front. That’s not the issue.

  17. October 2, 2017 at 7:20 am
    Well, whatever the reason, the Pats have given up almost as many points in just 3 home games than they did ALL last season at home.

    If not for some Brady heroics they’d be 1-3. Conversely, if not for a questionable facemask call they could be 3-1, hiding the liability the D has become

    In any event they just need to get things worked out and peak in the playoffs. This wouldn’t be the first Patriots Super Bowl winning team to look shaky in September.

    36 3 Rate This

    ————-

    Exactly. Give me health and an upward trend with the depth they do have, and I am good. Outside of that, I do not trust Goodell.

    There is always a chance his shenanigans will come to the forefront as they did yesterday.

    The only reason we didn’t see this in 2015 and 2016 is because he was caught in a federal court lying and cheating, so it would have looked way too obvious what he was doing.

    But, clearly he doesn’t want a 7th straight conf. title appearance, especially in Foxborough, which is why we saw what we saw yesterday.

    Creepy.

  18. There communication is just fine—-the secondary was on the same page when it came to the protests. By the way, when will they be demonstrating support for the bravery shown by the Las Vegas PD?

  19. Always like seeing the children in the Pats hater gallery jumping up and down 1/4 of the way into the season.

    Defense certainly needs a lot of work but there are a lot of games to go and Belichick won’t tolerate the D playing the way it has. Wouldn’t want to be in the film room with him this week. Not going to be a fun time for all.

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