Most of the New England Patriots‘ more publicized issues were on the offensive end. Depending on who you talk to, the Patriots’ biggest problems were either at quarterback or wide receiver.
There is no question the passing game needs a major overhaul, but there were some inexcusable problems on defense as well. While stopping the run consistently was one of them, another was the lack of pressure on quarterbacks.
New England generated almost no pass rush in 2020 ranking 26th in the NFL with just 24 sacks. MusketFire’s Jerry Trotta has an idea that could fill two of the Patriots’ biggest voids.
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Sign Allen Robinson
The Chicago Bears’ Allen Robinson is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Had he played with more capable quarterbacks throughout his career, he would probably have even gaudier numbers than he’s had since he came into the league in 2014 (457 receptions, 5,999 yards and 39 TDs).
Robinson was unhappy with the Bears not signing him to an extension during the season. Now he will be an unrestricted free agent in March and figures to have tons of potential suitors.
Robinson had his third 1,000-yard season and set a career-high with 102 receptions. He also had 6 TDs. This level of production is obviously the reason Trotta looked to Robinson as the answer to the Patriots’ receiver woes. Trotta wrote:
If the Patriots don’t aggressively pursue Robinson, fans have every reason to form an angry mob outside of Gillette Stadium. He might not get mentioned as one of the best receivers in the league, but he undoubtedly belongs in that discussion, and he’d be a perfect fit in New England.
Robinson is the kind of receiver who might be perfect on any team, and the Patriots aren’t an exception.
Sign Yannick Ngakoue
On the edge, the Patriots desperately need a playmaker.
Chase Winovich led the team in sacks with 5.5 and his former college teammate Josh Uche showed some promise, though he struggled to stay healthy. In any case, the Patriots don’t have enough athletes off the edge who can consistently apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks.
Trotta insists the Baltimore Ravens’ Yannick Ngakoue could provide that element to the Patriots’ defense:
On the defensive side of the ball, we simply must see Yannick Ngakoue in a Patriots uniform next season. A former second-round pick out of Maryland that’s been traded twice this season, Ngakoue is one of the most underrated pass rushers in the NFL.This campaign marked the fifth straight year that he compiled at least eight sacks. He also has four forced fumbles, which ranks fourth among all defensive ends, and 10 quarterback hits. That production has seen him earn an elite 76.1 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus. To put it simply, he’s the definition of consistency in terms of getting after the quarterback and we all know how much the Patriots have struggled in that department in 2020.
Ngakoue would provide a much-needed injection of athleticism and explosiveness off the edge. It would have been interesting to see what the Patriots might have looked like in 202 had they had a receiver of Robinson’s caliber and a pass rusher like Ngakoue.