Patriots fans received some news that we thought we would never have to see again: Darrelle Revis is a New York Jet. Before Bostonians collectively head to the Tobin, lets break it down and talk it through. I promise its going to be okay...
Instead of writing solely based on emotion, I decided to wait a little bit in order to let everything sink in.
There is no way to sugarcoat it: Darrelle Revis completely changed the way that Bill Belichik was able to operate on defense. Not only did Revis take away the team's #1 receiver and effectively half of the field, but he made everyone around him better. Pat Chung's ability to rush and spy the quarterback instead of playing a true safety position was simply because Revis was doing exactly what has made him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. Devin McCourty was able to roam 30 yards downfield and play centerfield, tracking the ball and making a play on it.
After the news of Revis's departure, Pats fans lost another cornerback in Brandon Browner. The Patriots had Browner under contract, but he was due a $2 million bonus, which Bill Belichik and company politely denied. To be honest, this actually makes sense to me. Browner is not as good as he played last season. Browner's physical play was a perfect compliment to Revis's more technically sound type of defense. Instead of playing man to man, the Patriots will almost certainly play more zone coverage, which should not be a welcome sign to most fans.
So now the question has to be asked: what is next for the Patriots defense? Will they enter the season with Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington manning the corners?
In short, no way.
Bill Belichik is almost certainly going to explore the free agent market and add a couple veteran defensive backs to add depth to an already depleted position. Today, the Patriots added veteran cornerbacks Robert McClain and Bradley Fletcher. While both are mediocre at best, I am not completely certain that the plan is to stock back up on the defensive secondary like last season.
Personally, I would love to see them beef up the Front 7 and get after the quarterback. Bill Belichick has never necessarily gone this route, but it would be a new and refreshing look to the Patriots defense. After the acquisition of Jabaal Sheard and the returning defensive line of Sealver Siliga, Chandler Jones, and Rob Ninkovich, they should have a decent pass rush. However, after the departure of Vince Wilfork, they Patriots could use interior line help and could look at cost-efficient options, such as BJ Raji.
This team is looking a lot different, but I believe that Bill Belichik has something up his sleeve. There is no way that the Patriots brass would send out a mediocre team in the twilight of Tom Brady's (GOAT) career. Whether it is a trade or building through the draft, this team will again contend for a Super Bowl.
In Bill We Trust.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS