Patriots: These Chase Winovich stats prove he needs a featured role in 2021

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Chase Winovich #50 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Chase Winovich #50 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

It feels weird to say given their ridiculous output in 2019, but the New England Patriots’ defense will have to drastically improve next season if they have any hope of returning to the playoffs.

The mental fortitude of a defense can largely be traced to how they get after opposing quarterbacks, and the Patriots were one of the worst in the league in that regard, ranking 27th in both sacks (29) and QB knockdowns (43), as well as 17th in total pressures (146).

If those stats don’t prove that New England needs to make major upgrades to their defensive personnel, then we’re not sure what does. At the same time, however, there’s been a simple in-house solution staring them right in the face this whole time.

According to Pro Football Reference, edge rusher Chase Winovich finished tied for first in quarterback hurries (24) and ninth in QB pressures (37), further proving that the 2019 third-round pick, who played  just 58% of the defensive snaps in 2020, deserves a featured role next season.

Patriots OLB Chase Winovich’s production should earn him a bigger role in 2021.

Fans didn’t take kindly to Winovich’s erratic playing time last campaign despite him being more consistent and disruptive than every player ahead of him on the depth chart when he was on the field. For context, the Michigan product logged 10 games last season in which he played less than 70% of the defensive snaps, and that simply cannot happen moving forward.

That controversy was only exacerbated by continual hazy comments from the coaching staff whenever they were questioned about Winovich’s limited role. It seemed like something was going on behind closed doors, but we just assumed they were easing him into things.

Ironically enough, those concerns were justified near the end of the year when the Boston Sports Journal published a scathing report, which was reportedly sourced from people close to the Patriots, indicating that Winovich needs an attitude adjustment and won’t earn more playing time until he changes his locker room behavior.

We can’t speak on how much truth is behind that rumor, but the Patriots’ zero-tolerance policy for locker room antics certainly makes you wonder if that’s why Winovich saw the field as little as he did last season.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that their pass rush has been so non-existent that the coaching staff has no reason not to fully unleash the 25-year-old stud moving forward.

That opinion would obviously change if it was revealed that Winovich was being totally uncooperative in the behavior department, but we like to think it was nothing more than a situation of a confident-filled player being annoyed by his inconsistent role.

With that in mind, Bill Belichick and Co. literally have nothing to lose (other than being burdened with a supposed locker room nuisance) by letting him loose.