Patriots’ 2020 defense will be a far cry from 2019

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The Patriots had an outstanding defense in 2019. To keep that defense at or near the top of the NFL in 2020 may require Bill Belichick’s best coaching job yet.

New England’s defense has been hit harder by player turnover than any other team in the league this year — and maybe even more than any other defense ever.

That includes today’s opt-outs of Dont'a Hightower and Patrick Chung, but even before we learned that Hightower and Chung won’t play this year, we knew the Patriots had suffered massive losses on defense. In fact, the Football Outsiders Almanac calculated that the Patriots had lost more production on defense from 2019 to 2020 than any team since at least 2002-2003 — and that calculation was done before Hightower and Chung opted out.

Other key players who are gone from last year’s Patriots Defense are Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, Danny Shelton and Elandon Roberts. And the Patriots didn’t add any noteworthy veterans to their defense in free agency, although they did draft some players they’re hoping can come in and contribute immediately.

Tom Brady‘s departure was by far the biggest story in New England this offseason, but the Patriots lost even more on defense. The 2020 team will look nothing like 2019.

27 responses to “Patriots’ 2020 defense will be a far cry from 2019

  1. But that shouldn’t matter right, BB should be able to just plug in anyone and win a ring, and he’s got Cam Newton now who will be so much better than that system QB Brady, he can just go out and win rings with Cam and nobodies right?! Right guys!? /s

  2. But the 2021 team should look great! The rookies will be hardened veterans for next year. Chung and Hightower return fresh and ready to go. Heck – I’m rooting for Gilmore and D Mac to opt out of this fiasco.
    And lets not even look at the embarrassing cap room they might have next year. Even at the reduced $175 mil cap – the Patriots might have $75-80 million to scoop up the veterans being cut for cap issues.
    And there is the opportunity for a decent draft choice too!

  3. This is bad.

    I hope the Patriots don’t go 3-13 and draft a good QB.

    Let them go 8-8 and find another Haskins.

  4. I’m sure the timing of the opt-outs are coincidence and they will be more spread out across going forward.
    But it is fun to imagine that playing in NE under Belichick is so insufferable that the only reason guys stayed was the near guarantee of a Superbowl appearance that came along with having the best QB of all time.
    Also, I will never count the Patriots out.

  5. You’re going to see the Patriots circa 1960-2000 for years to come and it’s awesome

  6. cjmcfootball says:
    July 28, 2020 at 1:55 pm
    But it is fun to imagine that playing in NE under Belichick is so insufferable that the only reason guys stayed was the near guarantee of a Superbowl appearance that came along with having the best QB of all time.
    Also, I will never count the Patriots out.
    ———-

    You mean you would never count Brady out. The Patriots are now just another team. I’d count em out of the playoffs this year.

  7. There won’t be a season, but I don’t think so. They’ll be faster and more dynamic in some ways.

    It will be faster, younger, and better supported by far superior QB play so they won’t be out there as much on the field due to a world record of 3 and outs and crap drives by Brady.

    I have never seen a D so dominant in this passing era with such a bad offense on the other side. Never seen it and it was because of pouty Brady.

    Love Hightower and Chung, but they have the best secondary in football by a wide, wide margin. In fact, it’s probably the best in modern NFL history. JC Jackson is about to make a lot of money at RCB. Jon Jones is the best nickel in football and John Simon will be a fine fill in for Van Noy with more reps.

    As for Hightower, Bentley has been being trained for the playcaller MLB role for a while now. He was always going to be the next guy in line to take that over. Smart kid, too, so we’ll see where that shakes down.

    Keep in mind, Hightower was on the bubble in camp with his age, cap hit and the idea BB would be going to a light box and more a 4-3 base look with speed to combat the RPO better.

    In fact, I would argue BB may have already had that discussion with him. Chung’s loss is big in a sense you lose the best Rover in the league, but that’s why they signed Adrian Phillips, to sort of be there in case of injury of its his last legs in camp.

    Watch and learn, people and don’t take the cheese. The base of that D is still there, which is the secondary.

  8. SWFLPC.INC says:
    July 28, 2020 at 1:55 pm
    I guess we will see just how much of a genius BB is this season.

    ________________

    The genius move has already been mentioned, BB should opt out too. He’s not a young man – an at risk group at his age.
    I’m more worried other teams start following the Patriots lead. 2020 will be a disaster for the entire league. No sense going down with the ship.
    Lets set our sights on 2021!

  9. Doyle Hargreaves says:
    July 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm
    You’re going to see the Patriots circa 1960-2000 for years to come and it’s awesome
    _____________

    Probably before you were born – but the Pats went to a SB in the 80’s and 90’s.

  10. The team that the Cheaters will field in 2020 will be the ball boy on offense against the Gatorade cup filler on defense. That will be the only group that will feel compelled to show up.

  11. As much as you guys try you can’t take away the 6 rings. My boys will stand pat with that if it makes you feel better.

  12. softhelmet says:
    July 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    With the way baseball is going, there might be no season at all.

    28 3 Thank You

    ———————

    Anyone with an IQ over 100 can see that.

    People can also see by the slick FA signings and cap control into the new CBA and who he drafted, coupled with the myths about them “lacking talent” as a way to bash BB out of jealousy, will leave these idiots in stunned disbelief in 2021.

    There won’t be a 2020.

  13. Doyle Hargreaves says:
    July 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    You’re going to see the Patriots circa 1960-2000 for years to come and it’s awesome

    I think you’re counting your chickens before they hatch. We’ve been hearing claims of the demise of the Patriots for 20+ years now, and it still hasn’t happened. I won’t be surprised if the Patriots go 11-5 or better this season (if there is one).

  14. I love that Patriot fans where convinced last year that Brady was the key to returning to the Superbowl, but now that he left Cam Newton is the best thing since sliced bread. I believe Newton is the modern day Donte Culpepper, by the time he left Minny he was still young but completely washed up . . . good luck Pat fans!

  15. i’VE BEEN SAYING THIS SINCE FREE AGENCY. FORGET THE OPT OUTS, THE PATS LOST A TON OF TALENT ON THE D. WHY HAVE THE PUNDITS BEEN CALLING THE 2020 D GREAT?

  16. Do you hear that? Its the deafening silence from Patsies fans. Even four of my kids who were ravenous fans have now jumped off of the bandwagon. Belichick is still going to cobble together a good team. Just not this season. Why? There won’t be one.

    Look at MLB. When one team has almost 2/3rds of its players and 2 coaches test Covid-19 positive 3 games into their season then the odds of a full NFL season are zilch. It’s not just about the players and team staff. Hotel staff, airline staff, travel workers, etc are all affected. BB has a full year to restsock with Hightower and Chung returning in 2021.

  17. Haters: The Patriots are so bad ________.

    Then they fill in the blank with some wishful thinking.

    Reality: The Patriots are so bad the haters can’t stop thinking about them and PFT can’t stop posting about them.

  18. Opt out a good idea…for all players! Just end the season already! Because this season will be the worst ever no matter who one roots for.

  19. Jealousy and envy are incurable diseases! The militia will be ready go pats🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

  20. ’VE BEEN SAYING THIS SINCE FREE AGENCY. FORGET THE OPT OUTS, THE PATS LOST A TON OF TALENT ON THE D. WHY HAVE THE PUNDITS BEEN CALLING THE 2020 D GREAT?
    ——————————————————-
    Because lets not pretend the Collins was the ‘old Collins’ and that Van Noy was anything other than a solid player.
    Chung and Hightower are bigger losses–but our first draft pick is that physical freak safety, who will take Chung’s place, and there is an huge hole left by Hightower.
    This is a team that just has to survive the season- the rebuild starts in 21. That said, they will still win the division and be a player in the playoffs.

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