EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

May 11, 2013

Pats defense built in Belichick mold

Physical makeup harkens back to 2004, but can these guys play?

FOXBORO — Like Greg Brady, playing out the role of Johnny Bravo back in 1974, your 2013 New England Patriots “fit the suit” — at least on defense.

Bill Belichick, the man with a bottom five rated defense over the last five years, has obviously seen enough.

If he is going down defensively, he’s going to do it his way. And his way is the way this franchise played defense back in the glory days of 2003-04, when the Patriots played a nasty, physical and at times complex 3-4.

New England dominated those seasons, going 14-2 in each and pummeling the opposition on the way to back-to-back Super Bowls.

There was little “Wild, wild West,” riding the arm of Tom Brady, and there was playmaking and effort and some hurting going on with his defense.

Super Bowl losses to the Giants in 2008 and again in 2012 have brought the coach back to his bread-and-butter. This past month’s draft was the third in a row in which Belichick looked to revamp his defense.

The transition looks to be complete, at least in the looks department.

Belichick now has to sort out who can play and who can’t.

As far as image and effort go this fall, this Patriots defense will look nothing like recent years, in which the Pats sat back in a passive 4-3 look and allowed teams to dictate.

New England will attack. It will get physical. This defense will make plays and make mistakes. Can they execute and limit the latter? That will ultimately tell whether the switch worked.

Belichick is making this move because he has to.

First, look at the offense. The release of Wes Welker was such a telling blow. The days of Tom Brady throwing 50 passes a game are over. This offense is, for the first time since Corey Dillon skipped town, a run-first attack.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement Draft Preview: Chris Davis Draft Preview: Jay Prosch Watson: 'I'm always going to cry' Is the use of pine tar considered cheating? Draft Preview: Jake Matthews Draft Preview: L'Damian Washington
Boston Sports
Iginla hungry for first Stanley Cup Running Strong: How the Bruins National Anthem brought Boston together Patriots Talk TV: Should the Pats abandon the 2 TE system? Brad Stevens: Hopeful season was a 'learning experience' for young Celtics Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday McAdam: MLB replay system already affecting Sox Running Strong: Marathon Sports Manager, Shane O'Hara reflects back on Marathon bombings Merloni: An imperfect game we're trying to make perfect Felger sounds of on the MLB replay system McAdam: Pedroia D.L. stint 'not hard to imagine' NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders