While the New England Patriots‘ offense might still be a question mark in the eyes of some, few are doubting the ability of the defense.
There are some depth issues in the secondary with Stephon Gilmore’s status up in the air this season, but on all three levels, the Patriots have playmakers.
Of particular interest, the Patriots’ pass rushers are getting a ton of love from those who were able to watch them at training camp and during preseason.
One Patriots insider thinks the pass rush will be so good in 2021 that New England will lead the NFL in sacks.
Will the Patriots Be Tops in Sacks in 2021?
CLNS’ Evan Lazar posted 2 “bold predictions” ahead of the 2021 season. One of them was related to running back Damien Harris, whom Lazar thinks can be a top-3 rusher in the league.
The other was the lofty prediction for the team’s pass rushers.
In the video, Lazar says:
This Patriots defense is going to lead the league in sacks. Yes lead the league in sacks. Now Bill Belichick’s defenses aren’t typically known for piling up the sack totals, but at the same time the off-season additions have won me over. Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy coming back Dante Hightower now back in the fold after the opt out. We know what Joshua the second year pass rusher brings to the table. Chase Winovich is an odd man looking in right now, on the outside a little bit, and he’s even an effective pass-rusher for the patriots. You have a decent secondary hopefully gets Stephon Gilmore back in the second half of the season. And this Patriots pass rush should pin their ears back and get after opposing quarterbacks. When the secondary is a little bit more vulnerable without Gilmore in the back end, all the more reason for bill Belichick to turn up the heat on the opposing QB’s let, Judon and Uche and company tee off and get after the quarterback. They will lead the league in sacks this year.
Most of the pass rush production Lazar is speaking of will come from players who were either not on the team in 2020, or were on the COVID-19 list. With a retooled defensive line, the ceiling is high for the Patriots’ pass rush
What Role Will Chase Winovich Play For the Patriots in 2021?
As Lazar mentioned, Winovich is in a tough position. He was the Patriots’ most consistent pass rusher in 2020, but that wasn’t a strength of the team last season.
With the return of Dont’a Hightower, the re-acquisition of Kyle Van Noy, signing Matthew Judon, drafting Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins and the ascension of Josh Uche, it might be tough for Winovich to find a regular spot.
Injuries are always a part of every NFL season. As it stands, that might be the event(s) that create Winovich’s chance to prove he can consistently help add to the team’s sack total.
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