The New England Patriots defense ranks 30th in scoring defense and last in total defense, justifiably drawing media criticism, but that’s not going to faze Dont’a Hightower.
A lynchpin in the middle of the Patriots defense (and sometimes on the edge), Hightower is a defensive leader and hears more questions about the defense’s struggles than just about anybody this side of Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick. However, he’s not flinching.
“I try not to read into it, but it is what it is,” Dont’a Hightower said Friday according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. “I really don’t read into it. I don’t think too many guys in here do. We know at the end of the day whenever we get rolling and start doing the things that we’re doing, the media is going to fluctuate.
“That’s just how it is. We’re just really concentrated on just going out and keeping the other team from scoring and getting the ball back to 12 (Tom Brady).”
The Patriots faced similar criticism in 2016, though that unit wasn’t nearly as porous as this year’s version and one could certainly argue that it wasn’t justified, whereas this year it is. The good news is, they’ve made improvements in recent weeks and have surrendered just 31 points in their last two games.
Ultimately, Hightower is right. The criticisms will begin to die off as the caliber of play picks up, so the best way to put a stop to it is to simply play better football.
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