|Play of Thomas, Seymour puts spotlight on defense|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 17 September 2008 21:12|
``Pretty impressive,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said.
That's also a pretty accurate description of the Patriots defense so far this season. And last season, too.
Their 2007 defense allowed the fourth fewest yards and points. But it was overshadowed by an offense that led the league in yards and points behind two NFL record-breaking performances - Tom Brady's 50 touchdown passes and Randy Moss's 23 scoring catches.
With Brady out for this season with a knee injury, the defense is getting its due after a 19-10 win over Favre and the New York Jets last Sunday.
``The score said it all,'' cornerback Ellis Hobbs said Wednesday.
nd Thomas has returned full-time to the outside linebacker spot after playing some games at the inside position last year before outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin got hurt.
``What we've asked him to do this year in terms of rushing the passer, playing outside and setting the edge in the running game, which he did the second half of last year after Rosie got hurt, I think he's done a good job of it,'' Belichick said.
``He's a strong powerful guy. I think he showed it on that play'' against Favre.
Thomas totaled 28 sacks in his last three seasons with Baltimore but dropped to 6 1/2 last season, his first with New England. He already has two this year - one of them a highlight reel play.
With the Patriots leading 19-10 last Sunday, the 6-foot-2, 270-pound Thomas charged at Favre with 5-foot-8, 202-pound running back Leon Washington between them. Thomas latched onto Favre's shirt and put him on the ground at the New York 7-yard line with about 5 minutes left.
``I just saw Brett during the play,'' Thomas said, but after seeing it again, ``I realize he (Washington) was on the ground.''
The Jets punted two plays later and never got the ball back.
``So I'm glad I got the best of that one.''
Thomas' target on Sunday will be Miami's Chad Pennington, a less mobile quarterback. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano must find a way to protect him from Thomas and Mike Vrabel, who also has two sacks as the other outside linebacker.
``They turn everything back to the middle of the defense'' where their teammates wait to make tackles, Sparano said. ``Vrabel and Adalius Thomas do a great job that way.''
As assistant head coach at Dallas last season, Sparano's team lost to New England 48-27 with Thomas playing inside linebacker. Now, on the outside, ``he looks a lot more comfortable and presents a lot more problems,'' Sparano said.
Sparano also must contend with Seymour, a five-time Pro Bowl player who missed last year's Cowboys game and six others while recovering from a knee injury.
Seymour had the other sack last Sunday against Favre, a 9-yard loss late in the first quarter.
``He's come a long way, but it's a gradual process,'' Belichick said. ``He's played with good power and explosiveness and been productive.''
Unlike last year, Seymour was able to practice and work out in the offseason and throughout training camp.
se when he's at his best, no one can stop him.''