Longtime follower of the blog, huge fan. A request: PLEASE consider whether the defense is in base, nickel or dime when looking at the defense? The analysts don't do it on TV, and it's very hard for the fan to tell when watching, but it's absolutely essential to understanding what is going on.
A writer here yesterday pilloried the Pats run defense. But he failed to even consider this.
I have been very critical of Bill's defenses over the last decade, so I am not one of those rah rah fans. But I suspect what escapes the standard analysis of this past Sunday's game is that everything went according to plan.
I suspected the Patriots were in nickel or dime the whole game, daring the Jets to run. And the Jets did. Look at the play totals for the secondary players. From that, it's clear the Pats were hardly ever if ever in base defense. Think of it almost like they were in prevent the whole game. THAT is why they gave up a ton on the ground.
The Pats understood what they were facing: a rookie HC, rookie QB, and a rookie OC. And a rookie kicker! This meant the Jets would not execute well the closer they got to the Pats end zone. Turnovers were likely. Take away the rogue play that goes for a TD, and the Jets were unlikely to score much.
Does this mean the Pats' defense is great? No, and they probably are not. But we can't tell anything from the Jets game. Bill could have rested the starters and done pretty much the same thing.
We'll learn more soon. But I suspect the Pats problem will not be the run defense, even though it might look like it at times. The problem is no Gilmore. So the Pats are forced to play nickel and dime, which leaves them vulnerable to the run game.