Why Davon Godchaux Has Such High Expectations For Patriots Defense
Statistically, the Patriots defense was very good last season. But Davon Godchaux believes the unit was better than the numbers showed and should take a step forward in 2023.
One reason: Nearly every player is back.
Aside from Devin McCourty, who retired in March, every meaningful member of the 2022 Patriots defense is back for another season. Cornerback Jonathan Jones re-signed on a two-year deal, as did safety Jabrill Peppers. New England also decided to run it back with the same linebacking group and re-signed its top depth linemen.
And, of course, the Patriots also used five picks in the 2023 NFL Draft on defensive players, including a first-round pick on corner Christian Gonzalez.
“It’s a good group,” Godchaux said. “I mean, we finished, I think, sixth in total defense last year. I think we could’ve been a lot better. Could’ve easily been… you know, always want to aim for top five, top three. But we could’ve easily been up there. Made a lot of key mistakes.”
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The veteran nose tackle believes there are clear advantages to keeping the majority of last season’s defense in tact.
“Seeing a lot of guys back lets me know that we’re on the same page,” Godchaux said. “A lot of guys have the same lingo in the building, on the defense, particularly. So that’s going to be good. That’s going to be key.
“But it all starts with things like offseason programs. … Most of the guys are here, so that’s always good, seeing the faces in the locker room.”
While great against middling offenses, last season’s Patriots defense still struggled against the more high-powered groups in the league. It’s been a recurring issue since 2019.
Will the problem be fixed? That remains to be seen. But we should get an answer in Week 1 when the Patriots reportedly will host the Philadelphia Eagles.
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