The Patriots’ defense seemingly put together a solid showing in their season-opener against Miami on Sunday.
In a tightly-contested 17-16 loss, New England held the Dolphins to just 259 yards of total offense (185 passing, 74 rushing), allowed just four third-down conversions on 11 attempts and recorded one interception.
Even with these strong numbers though, former Pats star DB Rodney Harrison believes blame for this loss lies with a lack of energy on the team’s defensive front.
“I look at their defensive front seven — which is supposed to be stout, which is really supposed to be the strength of their team — and it was average,” Harrison said on NBC Sports, per Boston.com. “It wasn’t very good. I just didn’t see the consistent pressure. I didn’t see them stopping the run. I didn’t see those guys flying around. They looked slow, they didn’t really look energetic.”
The Patriots defense got off to a slow start, allowing Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ offense to march 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown on their first drive of the game. From there, rookie QB Mac Jones was forced to play catch up for the remainder of the contest.
Veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower, one of the Patriots’ aforementioned front seven, agreed with Harrison’s statements. On Thursday, the two-time Pro Bowler said the New England defense needs to “play faster” and have “better awareness” against the New York Jets in Week 2.