Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/20/14

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms ups against the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
It’s been the Tom Brady show since 2007, but before that, the defense was a thing of beauty in New England. The likes of Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel, Mike Vrabel and Ted Bruschi carved out the Patriot Way; they played it hard, but worked it harder. This is the defense Bill Belichick wants, he’s just waiting for them to grow up. Belichick has his pass rusher in Chandler Jones, a versatile linebacker in Dont’a Hightower, and young tough corner in Alfonzo Dennard.  All three are rookies, who will be the make or break players in the postseason, and each have a bookend veteran that will force the action their way. Vince Wilfork is the key for Chandler Jones, he draws the double teams, and although he’s listed at nose tackle, he is rarely over the center. Wilfork can slide to a 4-3 tackle giving Jones the one on one with an offensive tackle, that’s the matchup on the line. Jerod Mayo is the bookend to Hightower, they have skill sets so close that the question here is how fast can Hightower grasp playoff pro football? Where Jones gets by on athletic ability, Hightower is more of a mental player, which could be a double edged sword sometimes. Hightower played more like a seasoned veteran than a rookie, but he hasn’t seen everything yet and that is where he’ll need Mayo, to keep his mental in check. Aqib Talib was brought in to replace Ras-I Dowling and the new Belichick concept of big corners. One only has to look at the Seattle Seahawks with Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman as examples. Talib takes away chunks of space and can play a true man to man concept. Dennard will be the corner the other team targets, and he seems to be up for the challenge. He reminds us of a young Ty Law, short and stocky; a physical who reacts as good to the ball in the air that we haven't seen in a Patriots uniform since Law. Dennard is tough against the run and there isn’t another corner on the Patriots close to fitting what the Patriots need outside, which is someone who will fight (sorry Kyle Arrington). Those are the three rookies who have played big roles, and once the playoffs start; they'll have to step up their game even more. var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Video: Lionel Messi scores (possibly) the most amazing goal of all time

FA Cup Final: Arsenal earns record 12th title in 4-0 win over Aston Villa

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Andrew Bogut throws some shade Dwight Howard's way

Scout: Red Sox have most resources to trade for Phillies' Cole Hamels

The problem with Adrian Peterson's Twitter 'rant'

Cavs shop sold out of Matthew Dellavedova merchandise

Who were those guys? A look back at the 1974-75 Warriors

Washington Redskins' DeSean Jackson up to old antics?

Klay Thompson's injury hurts Warriors' chances at NBA Title

Four former first-round picks playing for their NFL careers

NBA Finals: Cavs-Warriors lacks easy comparison and that's great

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

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

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

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.