Commentary

Time for Patriots to go all in

Don't just blame the New England secondary; the problem is up front

Originally Published: December 17, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Tom BradyAP Photo/Matt SlocumThe Pats need to maximize their potential during the Tom Brady years by improving their pass rush.

The 2007 New England Patriots were one of the greatest teams of all time, Super Bowl titles and helmet-aided catches be damned. Even Patriot haters can admit that a 16-0 team that scored almost 37 points a game and allowed just 17 truly was something of a marvel.

The Patriots haven't stopped scoring since. Even in 2008, when Tom Brady was lost for the season, the team finished eighth in the NFL in scoring. They led the league in scoring again last season, and they are third this season. Things are still clicking in that department, regardless of personnel moves.

But as odd as it sounds, when the Patriots face Tim Tebow on Sunday, they'll present one of the Denver Broncos quarterback's best opportunities to succeed -- as a passer.

That's because while the Patriots have been reasonably effective on defense until this season, they've really fallen off in recent years in their ability to rush the passer. And this year it's as bad we've seen recently for the franchise.


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst