The New England Patriots have one of the better defenses in the league, but they rarely asked their pass rush to save the day. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots defense generated pressure on 24.7% of passing plays, good for the 21st best rate in the league.
Head coach Bill Belichick is often content with rushing just three players and dropping the remaining eight defenders into coverage when he knows the opposing team is going to pass the football. That likely affects the rate of pressure.
Football Outsiders also notes that the Patriots blitz a defensive back on just 4.1% of passing plays, the lowest rate in the league by far. The 31st highest rate is Philadelphia at 4.9%, which is closer to the 27th ranked Raiders (5.5%) than they are to the 32nd ranked Patriots.
The Patriots have the 10th best success rate when they blitz a defensive back, so perhaps Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia should think about sending that extra rusher a few more times over the course of the season.
Pressure makes a defense far more successful against the pass so the Patriots should find a way to disrupt the pocket more in 2016, even if they don’t rely on blitzing defensive backs.