The Super-Bowl winning Patriot teams had a physical attitude on defense that came from veteran leadership. Who will step up this year as the leaders of the 2010 Patriot defense?
The 2010 Patriots defense is already a cause for concern, losing DE Ty Warren and CB Leigh Bodden to season-ending injuries. However, the alarming defense tracks back to last season, most notably the playoff game versus the Baltimore Ravens. How could we forget? Ray Rice and Co. stacked up 24 points before our second beer was downed and the chip bowl was still filled. This preseason debacle against the St. Louis Rams didn’t quite ease the concerns of fans.
Thus far, the Patriots defense seems to be as legitimate as Tom Brady’s car accident being a “top story” on all local TV news broadcasts. (Imagine if his right arm was actually injured?)
One thing we did learn about last year’s defense is the lack of an attitude.
An attitude similar to the one that stunned the fourteen-point favorite St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2001. An attitude that stuffed the Indianapolis Colts at the goal line inside of the one, four times.
An attitude that knocks teams on their ass. Pure, physical football was how the Super-Bowl winning Patriot teams were victorious.
In order to regain that attitude during their Super-Bowl winning stretch, the defense needs veteran leadership. Veterans similar to Ty Law, Roman Phifer, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Lawyer Milloy, Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, and even Larry Izzo. These veterans became leaders. Leaders who eventually turned into New England legends.
Sure we don’t want old men hobbling around the field; which is the reason why Belichick cleaned house on defense. However, the Patriots have one defensive player who is in his thirties (Tully Banta-Cain, 30). With a such a young defensive unit, leadership can be hard to come by. Young players lack experience and need guidance from veterans.
The Patriots defense has the potential to be dominant…in two or three years. Replenishing a defense takes time and deep scouting through the draft. Will young defensive players such as Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Darius Butler, and Brandon Meriweather develop into leaders? Or draft busts?
“I’m going to let my play talk. I’m going to be one of those guys who, when I strap up my pads, I’m going to let my pads talk”, said Meriweather regarding Ochocinco’s recent Twitter rants.
That sounds like someone who is ready to step up and play with attitude. Someone who wants to be a leader.
But a legend? Only time will tell.