After giving up several big plays in Sunday's loss to San Diego, cornerback Deltha O'Nealhopes to turn things around Monday night against the Denver Broncos.
O'Neal figures to see more of the same from the Broncos, who have opened up their passing game this season under the direction of quarterback Jay Cutler.
“Until we get it stopped that’s what you have to expect so [we have to] work hard at that, of course,” O'Neal told the Providence Journal.
O'Neal wasn't – and hasn't been – the only culprit. The Patriots are ranked 21st in run defense and have struggled to develop a pass rush in each of their two losses.
“We understand we have a lot of experience, but experience can only take you so far,” safety Rodney Harrisontold the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Quarterback Matt Casselis also trying to bounce back after a mediocre performance against the Chargers. Cassel struggled in the red zone and threw a costly interception in New England's 30-10 loss, but has the support of head coach Bill Belichick.
“The Cassel I saw against San Francisco looked pretty good. I would expect him against Denver on Monday to also look pretty good,” CBS analyst Randy Cross told the* Boston Herald*.
Getting the job done against Denver will be difficult. Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan has had unprecedented success against Belichick and the Patriots in the past and has yet to lose at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002.
“As usual, I think they are one of the best-coached teams in the league,” Belichick told the MetroWest Daily News.
The Broncos have struggled defensively this year, but are now committing themselves to a 3-4 front, which should give the Patriots a different look on Monday night.
“The 3-4 has a major role now,” defensive end Elvis Dumervil told the Denver Post.
On the flip side, Denver's offense has suddenly hit the wall as well. Turnovers have been the main issue.
“We’re obviously disappointed and we’ve got to look at what we’ve done and try to figure it out,” Cutler told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Lastly, the Eureka Reporter (Calif.) suggests the Patriots have fallen and looks at reasons why the team is struggling defensively heading into the middle of the season.