With the departures of Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love, along with some of the new additions up front, the Patriots defensive line will have a new look in 2013. You might also say, it’s taking on a new shape. Maybe it’s pure coincidence, but Bill Belichick seems to be picking up where he left off last year as he tries to makeover his defensive unit and get them more viable against the pass. Speed and athleticism were the buzzwords last year when he jumped up in the first round to grab both defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Right now, that premise has expanded up front, as it appears he wants his line bigger, taller and faster around his anchor, Vince Wilfork. Deaderick and Love, now members of the Jaguars, were both wide bodies built toward stopping the run. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Tommy Kelly and 6-5, 298-pound Armond Armstead, acquired as free agents, are built more toward collapsing pockets and wreaking havoc with quarterbacks. Yes, there was the matter of Type-2 diabetes that factored into the Pats decision to part with Love, and the club being uncertain about his readiness going forward, but it might also have been about the defense transitioning into the NFL’s current age of stopping pass-heavy offenses. Deaderick (6-4, 305) and Love (6-1, 315) were certainly good players for the Pats, performing their roles as run stoppers alongside Big Vince. But they weren’t the best at generating much push up front and pressure on the passer.
Bill Belichick tinkers up front
Boston Herald | May 17