Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
1. Young interior defensive line coalescing
It seemed as if everyone outside of New England assumed the Patriots’ defensive line was going to be poor in 2015 as a result of Vince Wilfork’s departure. That has proven not to be the case.
Veteran Alan Branch has been a rock all season, as has Sealver Siliga. But what’s especially exciting is the development of young guys Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown. The Pats invested first-round picks in those two players in each of the past two drafts, and it looks like the decisions are paying off.
Last week, Easley’s 34 snaps led interior defensive linemen. Tied for second with 25 snaps were Brown and Branch. As pictured above, Easley forced his way into the Redskins’ backfield on one occasion and hurried Kirk Cousins.
It’s encouraging to see Easley and Brown increase their roles in the Patriots’ defense. They are the future of not just the defensive line, but the future of the defense as a whole. The more Easley and Brown play together, the better they will feed-off each other in games and the better the Patriots will be.