New England Patriots 2016 Player Grade: Patrick Chung
By Matty Simo
The New England Patriots had one of the best secondaries in the NFL last season. Players like Patrick Chung helped them earn that distinction.
Statistically, the New England Patriots may not look like their pass defense was anything special in 2016. However, maximizing their talent on both sides of the ball was one of the keys to winning the Super Bowl. Safety Patrick Chung is the perfect example of that.
Chung returned to New England in 2014 after spending 2013 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite missing four games with the Eagles, he was still viewed as a valuable asset by the Patriots. Bringing him back turned out to be another great move by Bill Belichick.
Teaming up with Devin McCourty, Chung has helped form one of the league’s most stable and successful safety tandems. Between them, they have missed just three games in the previous three years combined. That alone is quite an accomplishment.
But last season, Chung also turned in one of the best campaigns of his eight-year career. He made 91 tackles in 16 games — only 2010 was better for him with 96 in 14 — to go along with one sack and one interception.
Next: Matt Patricia Starting Over With Defense in 2017
While New England ranked 12th in pass defense, surrendering 237.9 yards per game, most opponents were forced to attack through the air. Instead, the most important defensive statistic for the Pats in 2016 was points allowed. They led the NFL in that category, allowing 15.6 per game.
With Chung on the field, the team was better then and is now. That’s all you can ask for, really. Especially because there are so many injuries, with many other teams struggling to find continuity in the defensive backfield. New England gave him a one-year contract extension through 2018 before last season, and it was a smart decision.