Patriots Talk Podcast: Is the secondary really this bad?


There are no "bad" wins in the NFL, but the New England Patriots' victory over the New York Jets came pretty darn close.

The Patriots needed a last-second Nick Folk field goal to defeat the 0-8 Jets on Monday night after allowing a 35-year-old Joe Flacco to torch them for 262 passing yards and three touchdowns.

While the win snapped New England's four-game losing streak, it also served as an indictment on the team's defense -- particularly its secondary, which gave up several big plays to a putrid Jets offense.

So, what happened to the position group that was once the Patriots' biggest strength? NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran got into a heated debate on this subject during a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

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"The one thing I learned about this team is that the secondary might be as bad as we think it is," Perry said.

Curran argued that secondary's struggles have been exacerbated by poor defensive play calls that have put New England's cornerbacks and safeties in beatable positions.

Perry disagreed, to put it mildly.

"There's not a coverage that Steve Belichick could have called where they should have been beaten as badly and as consistently as they were Monday night against Joe Flacco and Breshad Perriman," Perry said.


" ... It doesn't matter what the call is. That's what I'm saying. They should be talented enough to stop them. And they weren't. It's a bad sign."

While reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore has missed the last two games, Perry pointed out that the Patriots have allowed more yards per pass attempt (8.4) than any other team this season despite playing less-than-stellar competition.

Second rate?

Patriots' yards allowed per pass attempt in 2020 (most in NFL)
Patriots' yards allowed per pass attempt in 2019 (fewest in NFL)

"All I can do is call it like I see it," Perry said. "They stunk (Monday) against the worst offense that I've ever seen. ... (The Jets) lost their best player, Mekhi Becton, about three plays into this game."

Curran offered another rejoinder -- that the Patriots' blitz-heavy game plan put their defensive backs on an island -- but Perry wasn't having it.

"It has nothing to do with the blitz, Tom. J.C. Jackson falling down at the line of scrimmage has nothing to do with the freaking blitz." 

Perry gave the secondary a "D" in his Week 9 report card, so it's clear where he stands in this debate.

Check out the full Patriots Talk episode -- which includes Curran's discussion with Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel about the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft and how COVID-19 could impact the scouting process -- in the video below.