For once, all the attention isn't going toward quarterback Tom Brady -- even with his new haircut. This week, the focus is on defense, or, in the New England Patriots' case, lack thereof.
Through three games, the Patriots are one of the
NFL's worst defensive teams, and on Sunday they'll face another
challenge against the Oakland Raiders, who lead the league in rushing.
While it's impossible to pinpoint the exact
problem, linebacker Jerod Mayo pointed to the team's inability to make
stops on third down as a reason why opponents sustain so many long
"We have a lot of work to do," Mayo said, "and
hopefully it happens this week."
What's even more alarming is the number of big
plays the Patriots have allowed, with a play longer than 20 yards
falling under this category. The Bills torched them several times last
weekend in an eventual 34-31 win for Buffalo, including Fred Jackson's
long carry to the 1-yard line in the closing seconds that set up the
winning field goal.
"You just have to make plays on the ball," Mayo
said. "Big plays have been killing us. That's one of the main
priorities in practice this week -- stopping the big play and getting
off the field."
Things won't get any easier this week as the
Patriots prepare to face star running back Darren McFadden, who is
enjoying a breakout season through the Raiders' first three games.
"McFadden's a great guy with the ball in his
hands," Mayo said. "Tackling will be an issue and we'll be practicing
that as well. Hopefully we can do good this week.
"Sometimes, you can be disappointed in the things
that we do, but at the same time you have to go back and watch the film
and make corrections. It's a unit. We're a family on the defensive side
of the ball. We know that and we're practicing hard."
For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter:
Or find us on Facebook:
Patriots To Face a Hungry Oakland Team
Patriots Insider Top Stories
Watch: Garoppolo Scrambles For 1st DownNew England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo scrambles for 10 yards and a first down against the Arizona Cardinals.
Patriots Postgame Press ConferenceNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and QB Jimmy Garoppolo speak with the media following their 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season…
Week One: Patriots vs. Cardinals HighlightsThe New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals square off in Week One of NFL action.
Rex Ryan Calls Out Bill BelichickRex Ryan wasted no time in calling out the Patriots coach ahead of their Week Four showdown.
Patriots Insider6:20 AM