New England Patriots: Did the pass-rush improve this offseason?

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Trey Flowers /

One of the main issues for the New England Patriots last season was their pass-rush. Did they do enough to fix this issue?

The New England Patriots had a very successful 2017 season as the AFC Champions, however, they fell short of their ultimate goal. One of the reasons why the Patriots didn’t accomplish their goals was because of their pass-rush.

While the Patriots rarely have a dominant pass rushing unit, they didn’t do a very good job getting to the quarterback at all last season. One of the reasons for their struggles was because of the absence of Dont’a Hightower for much of the season. Hightower is one of the top pass-rushers on the team, and not having him certainly hurt the Patriots’ defense. Not having Hightower and his ability to play in multiple spots really limited what New England could do on defense.

Luckily, Hightower will be back and healthy for next season, but the Patriots still had a need to add some help to their pass-rush. Recently, Pro Football Focus talked about whether or not the Patriots did enough this offseason to help their pass-rush. Here’s what they had to say.

"A nice mix of proven veterans, along with the group of up and coming young players should see this unit improve from last season. They likely will not rank among the league’s elite pass-rushing units, but there is enough talent on this team that just a decent improvement will be huge for their 2018 outlook. After all, there is nowhere to go but up!"

Obviously, getting Hightower back and healthy will be huge for the Patriots’ pass-rush. As arguably their best defensive player, the Patriots looked lost at times on the defensive side of the ball. Also, the Patriots were without Derek Rivers for part of last season too, as injuries did not help them at all last season.

In addition to getting Hightower back, the Patriots also signed Adrian Clayborn this offseason. Clayborn was one of the top pass-rushers available in free agency, and he will certainly be a help on the edge.

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One of the bright spots for the Patriots last season was the emergence of Trey Flowers. With Hightower out, Flowers was clearly the top pass-rusher for the team. Adding some more talent around him will only help him continue to develop as a player. Even though they didn’t make any huge splashes, they should be a much better unit next season.