Originally written on cover32 - Patriots  |  Last updated 2/18/15
New-york-jets-new-england
Since 2010, the Patriots have finished no better than 25th (of 32 teams) in total defense, measured by total yards allowed. Part of that is due to Bill Belichick’s “bend but don’t break” defensive mentality. The defense has certainly bent, but hasn’t broken quite as often. They have ranked 8th, 15th, 9th, and 10th in scoring defense the last four years. Not exactly the statistics you would expect from an elite defense. Certainly a far cry from 2003 and 2004, when they were ranked 1st and 2nd in scoring defense, respectively. However, the makings of a great defense are in place. Just ask Devin McCourty. On Tuesday, McCourty made an appearance at Boston Children’s Hospital and answered a few questions for reporters, including one about whether the Patriots defense could reach an elite level like that of this year’s Seattle Seahawks. “I think we can,” McCourty responded. “Just last year, we went through a lot defensively and as a team, and to see guys continue to work hard and try to get better and go out there to win as many games as we did – to fall a little short, but it gives you the confidence going forward we know we have the right guys to build something.” McCourty is of course referring to the injuries that devastated the Patriots’ defense over the course of the 2013 campaign. Vince Wilfork went down with a torn Achilles in Week 4. Jerod Mayo went down with a torn pectoral in Week 6. Devastating injuries for a defense that looked so strong early in the season. Complimentary pieces Tommy Kelly and Adrian Wilson also suffered season-enders, which certainly didn’t help. Prior to Wilfork’s injury, the Pats’ D allowed 34 points in three games. Granted, they weren’t playing against elite offenses (Bills, Jets, Bucs), but 11.3 PPG should not be ignored. Barring an Aaron Hernandez-esque offseason disaster, a healthy New England defense will be starting their 2014 campaign in a similar state. Maybe even a little better. The beauty of this defense is their youth. And while another year will make an old defense slower, that same year makes a young defense better. And the average age of the projected starters in 2014 is a mere 27. The defensive line could be a concern with Wilfork, Kelly, and Ninkovich all in their 30s (and two of them returning from injury), but the linebackers and defensive backs are on the up and up. Jamie Collins looks primed for a huge sophomore year. Dont’a Hightower looks like he’s ready to make the jump to be an every down linebacker. The cornerback position will be in great shape with Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, and Logan Ryan all showing signs of improvement. While the injuries to the defense may have been devastating in 2013, they should help the 2014 defense; a lot of young players were given a lot of responsibility and it has only made them better. You may also be interested in:New England Patriots defense on the cusp of greatnessAaron Hernandez has major incident behind barsMailbag: Jared Allen, Rob Gronkowski, and draft choices
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

SF Giants file brief in support of gay marriage to Supreme Court

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Brian Hoyer praises Johnny Manziel for checking into rehab

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

Jaworski on Winston: 'I would not take him at that No. 1 pick

Peyton Manning passes physical, returning to Broncos

Gregg Popovich rips notion of NBA Finals games in July

Likeliest landing spots for Ndamukong Suh

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

WATCH: Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs who doubts her ability

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

TSN to stop airing tweets after trade deadline debacle

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.