New England Patriots: Is This the Worst Defense of the Bill Belichick Era?

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIINovember 1, 2011

DETROIT - AUGUST 27:  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 27, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Patriots 34-10.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Known as a defensive genius and entering his 12th season, are Bill Belichick's 2011 New England Patriots currently winning despite their worst defense of his tenure?

In 11 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick has won three Super Bowls, four Conference Titles, eight division crowns and 14 playoff games.

The Patriots are currently 5-2 and dead last (32nd) in total defense, yards given up per game (424.1), passing yards (323.1) and average points allowed per game (22.9), the worst in the Belichick era to date. 

No previous Patriots team Belichick has ever coached finished lower than 26th ('05) in total defense. 

In the three previous seasons where the Patriots averaged over 21.1 points allowed per game ('00,'02,'05) they've finished 5-11, 9-7 and 10-6, won the AFC division twice ('02,'05) and made the playoffs once as a wild card ('05), only to get bounced in the second round with a loss to the Denver Bronco's in Mile High, 27-13.

There's no question the Patriots defense is a glaring problem. With little to no outside pass rush, (especially when Albert Haynesworth can't stay on the field) and the defensive backs being shipped out of Foxboro quicker than a KFC delivery to Fenway park, you're going to have your issues.

Since 2005, the Patriots have picked seven defensive backs in rounds one through four. Four were in the first or second round and only two remain active—McCourty and Chung.

When the trade deadline came and went two weeks ago, was there any interest in picking up a proven pro-bowl type corner or safety?

Trade rumors swirled in Philadelphia about the possibility of Asante Samuel being shipped out of town, but the Patriots weren't even mentioned in the equation. 


So what's Bill Belichick thinking, and how's he going to fix the current defensive situation moving forward in order to maintain a championship caliber team?