Will Lack Of Defensive Leadership Continue to Plague New England?

Robert BContributor IDecember 13, 2009

MIAMI - DECEMBER 06:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after throwing an incomplete pass against the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

 What do Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi have in common?  Some may bring up their multiple Super Bowl Rings, others they were all New England Patriots.  How about they were all great locker room leaders, and either retired or in Vrabel's and Seymour's case traded from the Patriots.  These three were the cornerstones of New England's Super Bowl runs, and now with the lose of these key players the team has hit a tough skid.  The one glaring issue with this team that seems to pop up is the lack of leadership on the defensive side in the locker room.  Everybody heard Adalius Thomas pretty much call out head coach Bill Belichick, if this were to have happened when Harrison and Bruschi were around the next day Thomas would have apologized for his comments and we would have never heard anything like this happen again.  But, the fact is Rodney Harrison or any of the past leaders are not walking through those locker room doors.  And this is why nothing has happened to Thomas, he basically has done something that has been a sin on past teams and gotten away with it.  These are some of the off the field issues, why don't we get started with some on the field issues with the lack of defensive leadership.  When you watch this New England defense they seem to lack a certain swagger that past defenses had always brought to every game.  Certainly the lack of pass rush is one major issue with this defense, Seymour was never a dominate threat in sacking the quarterback he was better against the run, but you can still tell he is missed.  New England's pass rush is on pace to have the lowest sack total in the past ten seasons for a Patriot defense.  Not only does New England lack a pass rush, but their secondary is weak and has been picked apart by some of the games best(Peyton Manning and Drew Brees) and some mediocre quarterbacks(Chad Henne and Kyle Orton).  The secondary is very young and make mistakes you would expect from inexperienced players, but they need to step it up.  Even veterans like Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden are struggling and seem to be past their prime.  The lack of a shut down corner has killed this team in big games.  Overall I don't see one player on this defense that wear their emotions on their sleeves and attempt to pump on the defense like Harrison and Bruschi were able to.  Someone needs to step up or New England may not be making a Super Bowl appearance this season.