April 21, 2014

Season’s Greetings – the Defensive Line

Three’s Not A Crowd – The Defensive Line

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Admit it: neither the Richard Seymour nor Ty Warren selection ushered in dreams of glory. Vince Wilfork drafted at 21 overall? A gift, gratefully accepted.

However it happened, the Patriots compiled one of the finest defensive lines in football. That’s a good place to start.

What I Like

A Thick Blue Line: The aforementioned trio sets the tone for playoff-caliber defense. Having them around is like having a security blanket. One that smothers opponents.

All The Wright Moves: New England signed Mike Wright to a four-year extension, bolstering their depth while rewarding the undrafted free agent. Watch for Wright to take more reps as a situational pass-rusher, especially from an interior line spot.

You Do, Ron, Ron, Ron: The drafting of Clydesdale Ron Brace provides New England with their first true nose guard rotation since they signed Keith Traylor during Wilfork’s rookie year.

What I Don’t Like

They Do Run, Run, Run: Did you know that the Patriots defense gave up 4.1 yards per carry last year? It’s true. It makes one wonder (and by “one,” I mean me) how much the same front can improve that statistic.

Fit To Be Ty?: After Warren’s knee surgery and two (two!) groin surgeries, he’s currently on the PUP list.  Considering I cry after stubbing a toe, I can’t imagine how he’s feeling. Also, Jarvis Green comes off an ankle injury that kept last year’s numbers below par (two sacks).

Depth Charges: Plenty of defensive linemen come into camp, but how many of them can play? Can Le Kevin Smith reach his potential? What support can rookies Myron Pryor and Darryl Richard provide? The position is deep, but so’s a quarry: who knows what’s at the bottom?

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

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