BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots improved to 9-3 on the season with a 34-31 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The Patriots got off to a slow start for the third straight week, but were able to come back against the lowly Texans, who dropped their 10th straight game with the loss.

It’s an “all hands on deck” type of situation for the Patriots defense right now, with seemingly everyone battling through some type of injury.

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The Patriots defensive unit has already lost starters Jerod Mayo, Tommy Kelly and Vince Wilfork for the year, but even the players that are out there now aren’t in their tip-top shape.

Cornerback Aqib Talib is laboring through a chronic hip injury, fellow cornerback Alfonzo Dennard missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury, safety Steve Gregory has a broken thumb and Scott Zolak is convinced that linebacker Brandon Spikes is playing on one good leg.

If you’re a Patriots fan, injuries are the main reason to point to when discussing this defense’s recent woes.

However, some players aren’t living up to their billing – one of them being linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

Drafted by the Pats with the 25th pick in the first round in 2012, the Nick Saban-coached Alabama product has not lived up to his NFL expectations. Through 26 career games in the pros, Hightower has a paltry five sacks with no forced fumbles or interceptions.

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Sports Hub host and Patriots Radio Network color analyst  Scott Zolak feels like the 2nd-year pro should be giving the Patriots more.

“Hightower has the ability to play different positions and they [coaching staff] have asked him to change his role, but he hasn’t taken any of these roles by the horn,” said Zolak.

“They’re asking him to be Jerod Mayo,” interjected Andy Gresh.

“When you’re that damn good and you’re that damn talented and you get drafted where you get drafted, you should be giving more than what he is giving you right now,” continued Zo.

“I know he’s a liability in coverage, but it’s not like they are running slot receivers past him. At some point you should be able to run with a couple tight ends, and he’s getting gassed by tight ends.”

Listen to the full discussion below:

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