In an Insider piece now posted on ESPN.com, K.C. Joyner (a.k.a. "The Football Scientist") uses metrics to pick five teams that will be most improved on offense in 2012, and four teams that will be most improved on defense (selections made based on teams that drafted 6 or more players on that side of the ball).
The Patriots show up on the radar, with Joyner putting them in the top spot on defense.
"This is a case where a two-pronged approach will likely be used to solve the Patriots' biggest issue: stretch vertical pass defense. New England allowed a whopping 1,265 stretch vertical yards last year, second-highest in the NFL," Joyner writes.
Joyner also highlights the "bad decision rate (BDR) metric" in his analysis, while pointing to rookies Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower and Jake Bequette as key additions.
Ok, listen. It's a slow time for Patriots news.
I think this one is kind of obvious. Honestly, with how bad they were last year the only thing they can do is improve.
Belichick really addressed this need in the draft (only 1 offensive player picked). You've got several players who could turn into playmakers on the defensive side (Dennard, Jones, Hightower).
Of course, that's counting on a lot of rookies so we might not see a dramatic change this year. Either way, you would have to think this defense would be a lot better in 2012.