This really is a must listen for Patriots fans wondering what is wrong with this Patriots defense. Greg Bedard is maybe one of the only reporters covering the Patriots that has a comprehensive understanding of Xs and Os.

He says the reason for all the vanilla schemes that the Patriots were running was because Belichick and the coaching staff believe that the players cannot handle more advanced things.

Bedard questions the coaching of the Patriots defense, and lack of imagination with the team, specifically on their pressure packages.

One point he makes is, he would rather have a great pass rusher than a great cornerback. He points to the Giants of last year, who didn't have any great cornerbacks but that was negated by a great pass rush.

You can see that the Patriots are desperately searching for a better pass rush.

Bedard added that Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich had a "season full of errors in one game".

The lack of a Patriots pass rush this season is the reason they were lining up Jermaine Cunningham at defensive tackle so much last week. It's something they did a lot in preseason too, and had success with. Cunningham is undoubtedly one of the team's best pass rushers, and when asked about his use of him after the game, Belichick acknowledged he was just trying to put all the best pass rushers on the field.

The idea obviously worked at points, according to the Boston Herald:

Situation: Second-and-7 from Bills 23 with 5:30 remaining in first quarter. Patriots lead, 3-0.

Result: Cunningham lined up over left guard Andy Levitre and worked inside past center Eric Wood to force Ryan Fitzpatrick to shuffle away from the pressure, which made him vulnerable to a hit from Vince Wilfork, who forced a fumble that Cunningham recovered.

Skinny: Obviously, Cunningham has good quarterback-hunting skills, and his presence in this four-man look strains offensive lines in passing situations because it puts the Patriots’ best pass rushers up front at the same time.

There's also a negative, obviously. That comes when teams just run the ball right at Cunningham as the Bills did a few times for big gains.

While Aqib Talib will certainly help, even a good cornerback can't cover when the QB has so much time. The Patriots need to figure out a way to get after the quarterback because just Chandler Jones alone isn't going to solve the issue.

Michael Saver 11/14/2012 04:08:00 PM Edit

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