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Listen/Transcript: Former exec Michael Lombardi thinks Patriots defense needs to take a big step forward

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Lombardi thinks the Patriots defense needs to prove their worth in the coming weeks.

Former Patriots coaching assistant Michael Lombardi is joining The Ringer’s Bill Simmons every Friday and they appear to be covering the Patriots every Friday. Simmons asked Lombardi for his thoughts on the Patriots 16-0 loss at the hands of the Bills.

“I think it’s time now, they’ve got 12 games defensively to step up,” Lombardi said about the Patriots. “I think the concern you have as a Patriots fan is defensively, where are we? We’re one field goal away from being 2-2. You know?

“So we’re sitting there saying, we’re 3-1, everything is great- no, kid missed a field goal, we could’ve been 2-2; we played a horrible second half against Miami; we wouldn’t cover the Bills receivers, whether it’s Robert Woods, Walter Powell, it didn’t matter, Charles Clay, couldn’t tackle LeSean McCoy.

“You know, the defense needs to play better.

“Now, it’ll be masked by the offense because Brady will score points, they’ll get the lead, and they’ll do their things, but at the time when it’s gonna matter, against Pittsburgh, or against Denver, the good teams, that defense has gotta take a Mother May I step forward, and if they don’t, then that’s going to be the downfall of the Patriots this season if their defense doesn’t play well.

“Right now, they’re not playing near the level they need to play to be able to be considered a team that can go into Denver and win, or go into Pittsburgh and win.”

Lombardi also predicts that the Bills will “have a hard time maintaining that level of concentration,” they had against the Patriots and will come up short against the Rams- and that the Patriots are going to rebound in a big way.

“When you think you’re good, that’s worse. Where as New England, nothing could’ve been better for Belichick than to lose to Buffalo at home. It’s the perfect opportunity for him to readjust this team and say, ‘Forget Brady coming in here, we need to tackle better, we need to block better, we need to cover better. Here’s why.’

“That’s why the theme out of New England all week was, forget about Brady coming back, this is what we’re going to do, and he [Belichick] can get their attention.”

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