The Patriots defense lacks the energy and expertise of Brian Flores. Is there a bigger loss than we expected?

Is it time to ask if Steve Belichick is truly a gift from God defending the Patriots rather than, say, a prime example of nepotism?

For years we have trusted Bill Belichick implicitly and assumed that we would end up handing over the keys to defense to another piece of his personal dynasty. But were there too many assumptions? Is young Belichick innovative or obsolete?

And was Brian Flores the mastermind behind New England’s elite defense from the start?

In a year we’ve been unnecessarily focused on Belichick’s legacy and the perceived successes Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay success delivers to him, should we look elsewhere? Does Belichick’s reputation on defense crumble as Flores succeed in Miami?

Is it reactionary? Sure. Without Flores in 2019, New England had the No.1 defense in the league … until the schedule tightened and all they had to do was defeat Ryan Fitzpatrick at home to keep a pass. and Ryan Tannehill at Foxborough to advance in January. They failed both tests and, after a series of takedowns, looked downright pedestrian and often intimidated in 2020. Was Flores more important to the team’s infrastructure in Belichick’s later years than we would like to acknowledge ?

Of course, not only is Flores motivating a new unit these days, but he’s doing it within the New England Division as well.

It’ll sting if the Patriots’ defense looks lackluster under new management, but it’ll hurt twice as much knowing that Flores seized the opportunity to escape New England and landed at division-cry distance.

Everywhere he goes, motivation and magic seem to follow.

It’s all about making fun of Belichick and shooting his family this year, as the Patriots limp to a losing record for the first time in two decades.

But before laughing at the critics, it should be recognized that this team’s defense mantra did not fall on deaf ears when Flores was still coordinating the shots.

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