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.