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In mid-January, it was announced that Patriots' defensive coordinator Dean Pees and the Patriots were "parting ways." With Pees' contract up, many people assumed that either linebacker's coach Matt Patricia or defensive line coach Pepper Johnson would be promoted to defensive coordinator (whether or not a title was officially given to said promotee).
However, in February, the team announced that head coach Bill Belichick would be taking on an "expanded role" with the defense, and that no official offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator would be named.
This would certainly define a "game changing" move, as Bill Belichick would now be the one being calling the shots.
Analysis after the jump!
With Belichick at the helm, what does this mean for the Patriots' defense?
Well, there are officially no more excuses. Patriots fans know, that over the last few years, the Patriots defense just hasn't been the dominating, intimidating force that it was in the early 2000's. The scrappy, hard nosed, blue-collar defense that had defined the Patriots dynasty just wasn't there any more. Even the defense of the 16-0 2007 squad just wasn't the same. Even while the Patriots had a defense that allowed just under 18 points per game last year, there still wasn't that unknown factor, the factor that made opponents fear what was coming next, as they could have anything thrown at them.
When Bill Belichick created the first "blueprint" to stop the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" in 2001, it was revolutionary. Frankly, the Patriots haven't had that type of blueprint defense since Romeo Crennel left the team after 2004.
With Belichick handed the keys to the defense, the pressure is now on him to return the team to greatness. I believe, with Belichick calling the shots, the Patriots defense will show a notable improvement in 2010. What do you think?