You don’t need to watch the coaches’ film to know that something’s up with the Patriots defense. The unit hasn’t played well at all in recent weeks, and journeyman Jason Campbell lit them up for 494 total yards (386 in the air) in the New England’s 27-26 win over the Browns Sunday.
The defense was the backbone of the team through the first six weeks of the season. So what has happened? The team won’t come out and tell us, of course, but after reviewing the coaches film from the last several weeks, we have a theory.
The crux of the matter is injuries, of course. Players such as Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga and Dane Fletcher have filled in admirably for Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, and Jerod Mayo, but those rookies and role players can’t possibly sustain an elite level of play over the course of a season.
But the Patriots’ woes go beyond that. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.