October 19, 2017

Take A Lap – The Secondary

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

A win after a bye is nice. A win against a division opponent? Even better.

secondaryAs the euphoria of victory wears off, attention must be paid to the literal last line of defense. While Miami QB Chad Henne’s numbers from Sunday were only okay, the infamous Patriots Daily lap must go to the New England secondary.

This group had a few nice plays, including Patrick Chung’s sack in the first quarter. Viewed as a whole, though, the work of DBs Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, Shawn Springs and the Brandons Meriweather and McGowan left much to be desired – and much to be needed going into next week’s contest at Indianapolis.

After all, if Greg Camarillo can get five catches for 71 yards, what can the Colts top-flight receivers do? Bodden and Butler gave a little too much cushion in their coverage (when not getting called for pass interference), allowing the Dolphins to convert nine of 16 third down attempts (52 percent).

There’s also something that the defense gets asked to do all the time, which I believe is called “tackling.” The defensive backs could use some work on this aspect. Meriweather somehow missed 6-foot-8, 270-pound tight end Joey Haynos on a short pass, allowing 15 extra yards. Springs and Bodden failed to get off blocks to stop the Dolphin rushing attack in the second quarter.

McGowan led the team in tackles with 11, but also committed what looked like the biggest mental error of the day. On third and goal from the one, Miami’s Ronnie Brown swept to his left. The Dolphins had gained one yard rushing the previous two plays and now looked to pass. With Tully Banta-Cain in his face, Brown shotputted the ball to Haynos, who was so wide open he may or may not have been rehearsing a one-man show at Foxwoods. Had McGowan even feinted coverage, Banta-Cain would have sacked Brown, forcing Miami to take the field goal.

Safety James Sanders deserves mention only for going offsides on a kickoff, adding to the already sizable danger of returner Ted Ginn. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski quelled the threat by booting the ball out of the end zone.

In all, a lackluster day for the defensive backs. Patriots secondary, PD asks – nay, demands – that you take a lap.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]


  1. A bit harsh, since the D was primed to stop the run (145 on the ground, did it work?). Henne is a bit of an unknown quantity, so he’s going to have so passes hit the mark. On the day he had a 75 rating – which isn’t always an accurate barometer, but gives you an idea of how he did.

    Miami was a team that had scored 30+ in the past 4 games, three of them against decent D’s. We held them to 17, not too shabby.


  2. I’m pretty disappointed in this post. They played 8 or 9 in the box almost all day, asking the corners to go man to man and still have run support responsibility. It’s clear the focus was, stop the run, take away the deep ball, and put the onus on Henne to move the team downfield with a short passing attack.

    Before you slam the secondary, you really should take the time to look at the game again and figure out what they were being asked to do. No one can defend against everything — you can’t take away the deep ball, jump the short routes, and cheat up on the line against the run all at once.

    • Chris Warner says:

      Aaron – your last sentence is true, you can’t defend against everything. Still, you can get off of blocks, make tackles and cover the receivers you’re responsible for. I’m not saying toss out the DBs (overall they’ve been quite good this year), I’m just saying that they had room for improvement.

      Who deserves to take a lap in your opinion? I’m not asking with any sarcasm; I’d really like to know.

      • Chris – I’d vote “Red Zone” offense to take a lap. 1st/10 from the MIA 11 and 1st/10 from the MIA 12 both get FG’s. The other two FG’s weren’t in the red zone, but pretty close – 1st/10 from the 20’s (I believe).

        I know its a rivalry game, but against teams with an above average D, we’ve struggled in those areas, and that’s unsustainable. I watched the Steelers last night punch it in when they were close. In the next 4 games, we can’t trade 3’s vs 7’s.

        Anyway, just my humble opinion.

        • Chris Warner says:

          I considered this, David, but had a tough time laying responsibility on individual plays. You’re absolutely right about going forward, though. Field goals don’t help much against the NFL elite.

      • Chris,

        J-Peazy. Zero tackles, zero assists. He got owned by the Volminator. Shot his mouth off, delivered nothing, and wouldn’t face the music after the game. He needs more then a lap, he needs 10 laps, 500 pushups, and a shipment of HGH.

        From the Patriots side, I think it was in general a well played game. I suppose if I had to pick a group from our side, then I can see the Secondary for the missed tackles, but in general, it was a well played, well coached game all around. It had the expected result: a clean win by the clearly superior team, but not a blowout.

        Thanks for the well thought response, by the way.

        PS, Feel free to steal “The Volminator” for Sebastian Volmer going forward… I sorta like it too. 🙂

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