Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Browner, Revis Signings Don’t Touch on Patriots Most Pressing Need

Revis, Browner Do Add Missing Element

Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, two of the top cornerbacks on the NFL free agent market, have signed with the New England Patriots.

According to CBSBoston.com, Revis’ deal will give the Patriots’ salary cap a $7 dollar hit, despite the cornerback’s $12 dollar salary. The Pats have also exercised a second year to the contract that allows the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer to stay in Foxboro another year for $20 million pay and a $25 million cap hit.

Boston Globe’s Ben Volin detailed that Browner signed a three-year, $17 million dollar contract with the Patriots.

These additions are great for New England’s typically-ruckus secondary.

Browner wasn’t a very huge part of the Seahawk’s suffocating defense in 2013, facing drug suspension issues and only taking part in eight regular season games. The 29-year-old will get a fresh start in the Boston area, and Bill Belichick will definitely enjoy his physical, attacking style of play that recent “Belichickian” secondaries haven’t fully adopted. Browner will have the opportunity to move from cornerback to safety and vice versa, contributing excellent versatility to the secondary.

Revis is a shutdown corner in the same vein of former Patriot Aqib Talib.

Belichick can actually depend on Revis alone to strengthen the Patriots’ defensive backs as he could do with Talib.

The University of Kansas alum played 13 games for New England, greatly improving the pass defense due to his presence. The Pats’ pass defense, which usually ranks near last in the league, ended up falling into the 18th spot in the 2013 regular season, relinquishing an average of 239.0 throwing yards per competition.

Over Both Cornerbacks, Pats Need a Stronger Run Defense

Are Revis’ replacement of Talib and Browner’s signing really what the Patriots require for a Super Bowl birth?

Delving into problems from last season, it was the Pats’ run defense that struggled so mightily in the second half of the regular season, ranked 30th in the NFL in average yards allowed per game.

Granted, in the playoffs (the AFC Championship against the Denver Broncos specifically), spectators saw Peyton Manning throw for a whopping 400 yards, as the Broncos’ running backs barely eclipsed 100 yards. The Patriots, though, played the majority of the contest without their star pass defender Talib.

That’s my point. Revis is a necessary acquisition owing to his likeness to Talib, but the secondary doesn’t need Revis and Browning together over depth and talent on the interior defense, where the Patriots were gashed last year.

Even if Vince Wilfork‘s discontent about re-stucturing his contract ends, the big man is past age 30 and returning from a torn Achilles injury. You can’t bank on Wilfork playing to such high standards based on these circumstances.

The burden will then fall onto Jerod Mayo, who cannot stop the running game single-handedly. He requires a Brandon Spikes-type player alongside him. The Pats have invited Wesley Woodyard for a visit. The ex-Bronco, however, signed with the Titans.

Minnesota Vikings D-lineman Letroy Guion did visit the Pats earlier this week. Still, he’s a rotation player, not really a stalwart to anchor your line.

On the condition that the Patriots want to compete for a 2015 Super Bowl appearance, they will need to seriously push for a run-stopper, in the draft or in free agency, capable of bolstering the interior defense.

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Tags: Brandon Browner Darrelle Revis New England Patriots

  • Duncan Day

    Thanks for recognizing the error.

  • Cataclysm Bitb

    Hightower is better than Spikes, HT can stop the run. But I have a gut feeling that the Pats may trade up this year and get a DE, DT and/or TE in the first round, like Hageman and Amaro.

    • Duncan Day

      Ya, definitely the real issue is interior defensive line, especially if Wilfork hits the road. Trading up into the first or second round could be the route taken for filling this void.

  • MisterTTT35

    So Duncan, it’s your contention the Patriots lost to the Broncos because of their run defense. I’d say it is safe to say, it’s the only reason they probably didn’t lose that day. They had had no pass rush that day (Peyton didn’t even need to wash his uniform) and they couldn’t stop the pass even once that entire day, especially after Talib left the game. While you acknowledge the positives of the signings, your opinion is short sided, and if you truly are Boston sports all the way, then you aren’t doing your job. They lost Vince, Mayo, and Kelly, so that has a lot to do with their inability to stop the run. Whether Vince returns or not is another story for another day, but the Patriots have had one of the worst defensive backfields for almost 8 years and any true Patriot fan or someone who covers them has to be aware of this. They not only signed the best CB in the game, but also brought in a long, tough, quality DB in Browner as well, and as a Pats fan, I’m totally satisfied with that because it doesn’t only upgrade a major weakness, it gives Bill and Matt Patricia the ammunition and flexibility to be more aggressive and the ability to help positions of weaknesses on the defense because of the two. I think people forget that this was a top 5 defense before losing Vince, Mayo, and Kelly. And lastly, chill out dude and let the process run its toll. The new football season began a grand total of 4 days ago, might be nice to give the Pats the time through free agency, the draft, and trades, before calling the Pats distracted from addressing all their needs.

    • Duncan Day

      My contention about the Broncos game was that without Talib the Patriots got shelled, so I recognize the fact that the Pats need one shutdown corner. The run defense wasn’t tested really because Peyton was passing so much, run-D “barely eclipsed 100 yards.”

      I agree that the Revis signing was an excellent move, and I do agree that the pass defense is a weakness of the Patriots– “typically ruckus.” My contention is that Vince Wilfork is old, coming off of an injury and on the ropes with his contract. Mayo is a good linebacker, Hightower’s fine.

      It’s just if you don’t have an interior D-line that is skilled and actually wants to play, you won’t be able to stop the run. Mayo and Hightower couldn’t do much if the Patriots have no good D tackles.

      Browner and Revis make pass coverage great, but if this team is being put together in hopes of reaching/winning the Super Bowl), they need to stop the run. Simple as that.

      That’s the key here. The Pats are clearly trying to build a Super Bowl worthy team. Why not come out of the gates and approach addressing your needs with free agency evenly.

      Get an excellent corner. Then, go after the best interior d-men in free agency. Look for wide receiver ect.

      Free agency is the time where you grab players that have a greater chance of immediately performing at a high level then rookies new to the league.

      The draft won’t necessarily help the Patriots for the immediate future, what they do in free agency is more likely to directly affect 2014-2015 Super Bowl aspirations

      • MisterTTT35

        I’m not disagreeing but the Pats aren’t going to spend for the sake of spending. And I might be in the minority but if the Pats were cutting Vince, I think they would have done it already. I do believe he’ll be back and I’m confident he’ll return to at least 80% of who he was and that’s okay with me. Before Vince and Mayo went down they were one of the best run stopping defenses in the league, and that goes back years. If their aren’t quality FA’s who can fill that role then why pay someone to do something they can’t. And I’m not sure why draft picks can be relied on to contribute. I’ve looked at the DL/LB free agents and the guy I’d love the most (Jared Allen) is more of a pass rusher. Again you put Revis on the best WR, leave him alone, and than maybe you bring the safety closer to the line and it also helps against the run. We are building a championship team but it’s a work in progress. Last year we signed Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins, the brutally horrible, Kyle Arrington. I’m just grateful they’ve begun to seriously address their needs and hopefully they will continue to

        • Duncan Day

          If Wilfork stays in New England and doesn’t want to play, then its hard to tell how he will perform. Pats should go for Henry Melton, coming off an injury but is 27, made the Pro Bowl in 2012.

          With Wilfork, you add this guy, plus Tommy Kelly rotating. There’s a big step closer to your Super Bowl winning run defense

          • MisterTTT35

            Vince has played with bad contracts before and has always been the ultimate professional. If he does stay it’s either at the salary he’s currently supposed to be paid or it’s a new deal he agrees to. Either way it’s on his terms, so to even think he’d play at anything less than 100% is an insult. Melton in same boat as Vince, both coming off bad injuries.

          • Duncan Day

            Melton’s also five years younger. The bottom line is the Revis acquisition is good. Not taking anything from that.

            A D-tackle hasn’t really been on the mind of the Pats’ with the Wilfork stuff and the terrible run defense last year.

            Mayo is really just a great fundamental tackler, he’s not necessarily going to blow up/stuff run plays on a consistent basis.

            With Mayo and Wilfork–another year in the books–you have to consider age and injury, especially with Wilfork. It’s just logical progession.

            With what the Pats are doing right now in free agency, a lot of activity– you would expect them to go for a defensive tackle to even things out.

            In the draft, I like NIx as a runstopper. That’s really it for run-stopping first rounders and he may be taken before the Pats get him. I’m not sure which player they would trade for him, too.