The Patriots pass rush could be back. Not since Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel, have the New England Patriots had a pass rush good enough to solidify one of the most talked about pass rushing defenses in the NFL. With the acquisitions of Adrian Clayborn and Danny Shelton, along with the return of 3rd round pick defensive end out of Youngstown State Derek Rivers from injury, and 2nd year defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. The New England Patriots pass rush could under the radar, be one of the most effective in the league. Derek Rivers, who tore his ACL in training camp last season, is back and at full speed. Rivers has shown great potential rushing off the edge in training camp. Rivers looks to make a mark as a substantial part on the Patriots defense and pass rush.
Evaluating Key Players
Danny Shelton, was acquired through a trade from the Cleveland Browns. Although Shelton did not record a sack last season, he will help other players get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Adrian Clayborn is a veteran defensive end who was a free agent coming over from the Atlanta Falcons. He has a heavy load of NFL experience, and has shown great potential in the pre season. Clayborn has hurried the opposing Quarterback nearly every snap he has played. Clayborn is known for his 6 sack game last season against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has probably had the best offensive line in the NFL the past 3 seasons. Clayborn recorded 2 strip sacks in the preseason, and showed a great knack for blitzing the quarterback. Deatrich Wise Jr is a 2nd year defensive tackle out of Arkansas. He has shown tremendous growth through OTA’s and training camp. He looks to be in incredible physical condition in training camp. And finally, rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley is a 3rd round pick out of Purdue. Bentley has shown great progress throughout the preseason and training camp, adding a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the 2nd preseason game against the Eagles.
Tre Flowers, is returning for his 3rd season also out of Arkansas. He has dealt with an injury throughout the preseason and training camp. Flowers will also be a huge part of the pass rushing defense once he is back and healthy. Dont’a Hightower, will also be a big help to pass rush but more notably it brings back the leadership and mindfulness the Patriots defense needs.
Who Is Brian Flores
Although by technical terms, the Patriots do not have a defensive coordinator, the linebackers coach Brian Flores will be making the play calls on defense for New England. Flores, has worked for the organization since 2006. He was originally hired as a scouting assistant, and was promoted to the coaching staff in 2008. Flores has built a great rapport with head coach Bill Belichick over the years he has worked for the team. That will play a big part to Flores calling the shots on defense this season.