Tips for the Patriots
When you have the 29th-ranked passing defense and are continually befuddled by bigger wide receivers and dynamic tight ends, your first priority needs to be addressing the elephant in the broom closet. But it's not as simple as getting a better cornerback, which the Patriots did when they traded for Talib. It means the team needs to address its third-down defensive depth with a speedy linebacker, muck like Gary Guyton was, to handle the Dennis Pittas of the world and, God forbid, the next Rob Gronkowski.
It's clear that Brandon Spikes could not handle that role. According to ProFootballFocus.com, quarterbacks had a 116.1 rating when throwing passes in Spikes’s direction. The same can be said for Jerod Mayo (98.9 rating, 82.7 completion percentage). Finding a linebacker who can cover in sub packages would take a huge burden off the safeties, who should focus more on helping the cornerbacks.
It wouldn't hurt to re-sign Talib, either.