The Patriots defense certainly hit its stride towards the end of last season, which was capped off by allowing just three points to the Rams in the Super Bowl.
Almost the entire unit is returning with the biggest change being replacing Trey Flowers with Michael Bennett and then adding Jamie Collins.
So, can this unit be dominant? This was a topic of discussion on this week's Off Day podcast with Andy Hart and Ryan Hannable.
“I don’t know that this defense is dominant and this defense is ready to be the face, or the identity of the Patriots right now," Hart said. "Until I learn otherwise, I am going to assume Tom Brady is going to have to score 25 or 30 points a game. He’s not going to win 17-13 every week. He’s going to need to put up points. I need the defense to prove it to me.”
Hannable countered by saying based on the schedule to open the year, that won't be known for awhile.
“You’re going to be waiting a long time for that," he said. "Looking at the schedule early on in the season, they just don’t play any talented offenses, really. They play a lot of games against the AFC East. … The schedule does the Patriots a lot of favors early in the season.”
Hart isn't a believer, noting how much the NFL has changed over the years.
“They are never going to be dominant," he said. "It’s very hard to be a dominant defense in my opinion in the NFL anymore. I don’t even think that exists. The question is, can the carry more of the load? Can they be a bigger shareholder in week-to-week victories? I don’t even know if they are at that level yet.”
The Patriots will hit the field for the first preseason game Thursday night in Detroit.