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10 Questions: Where's the rush?

Posted by Albert Breer  July 10, 2010 08:00 AM

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As it stands now, those guys will need help in harassing the passer. One place it could come is from the interior, where veteran addition Damione Lewis is the type of upfield-pushing tackle who can help the outside guys, and even Vince Wilfork could play more of a havoc-creating role.

Another place is through scheming, and we saw some of that with the team’s “UFO” nickel and dime fronts (one linemen with undeclared, roving hybrids hovering around the line) near the end of last year, which can create free runs at the QB. With so many players back from last year, the team could well be able to open the playbook more, particularly if Belichick is more involved on defense.

All that is to say there are ways around this being a fatal flaw on the team, and maybe Cunningham brings more than expected to the table. But if this area isn’t better than it was last year, it’s going to be a problem again, and in more ways than one.

Like here: The Patriots have a boatload of young defensive backs, and the biggest piece of help developing players at those spots can have is a strong pass rush. Absent that, you risk hurting those guys’ confidence, and confidence is vital for players charged with covering elite athletes.

The bottom line is that this facet of the defense could make all the difference for a group that’s promising in a lot of other areas.
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