Mike Lombardi knows a thing or two about the Patriots, as the former New England executive is still very close to Bill Belichick.
Appearing on VSIN's "A Number's Game" Thursday, Lombardi gave an outlook for the Patriots this coming season, which included some high praise for the defense.
“I think they are better on defense," he said. "I think New England is better on defense this year. I think Jamie Collins wanted to come back to New England. He wanted to play. I think he will make them a better team and allow (Dont’a) Hightower to play more on the edge, which is what he’s more suited for than playing in base. Then, there’s Kyle Van Noy. I think Michael Bennett still has some gas left in the tank, so I do think they will be better on defense. I think the guy that is coaching the defense is a Hall of Fame defensive coach — forget the fact that he’s a Hall of Fame head coach. I do think they will be better.
“The question will be can they get this offense changed to where — it changed last year. Everybody talks about Gronk coming back, they were not a tight end oriented offense last year, partly because the two best tight ends blocked — Gronk and Dwayne Allen. That helped their running game, so they utilized their skillset. When everybody zigs, Bill Belichick zags. When everyone is in spread, he’s in two backs. I think that is where he gains an advantage.”
New England finished the 2018 regular season ranked 21st overall on defense, but only allowed 20.3 points per game, which were tied for sixth in the league.