The New England Patriots lost several coaches in the offseason, including defensive coordinator Brian Flores, cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and defensive line mentor Brendan Daly. When he was hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Flores brought along Boyer for the same position, while Daly joined the Kansas City Chiefs as defensive line coach. Despite these losses, the Patriots defense is going to be fine with no less than head coach Bill Belichick taking over as defensive coordinator for the 2019 season. The role is not new to Belichick as he worked as defensive coordinator for the New York Jets and the New York Giants.

Earlier, the Patriots hired former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as a replacement for Flores, but he quit his post because he wants to spend more time with his family.

Belichick will be faced with a huge challenge in his new role as the Patriots lost key defensive men in the offseason, including defensive end Trey Flowers and defensive tackle Malcom Brown. Flowers signed a huge five-year contract with the Detroit Lions worth $90 million while Brown signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the New Orleans Saints. Belichick now has to rely on veterans Donta Hightower, Stephon Gilmore, and Devin McCourty and new acquisitions Michael Bennett and Jamie Collins to anchor the defense.

However, Tom Curran of NBC Sports believes that second-year linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley is the key to beefing up the Patriots’ defense.

Bentley could spell difference for Patriots’ D

According to Curran, a healthy Bentley could spell the difference for the Patriots’ defense as he is a good complement to Hightower and the rest of the defense.

Last season, Bentley played just three games before he suffered a season-ending biceps injury. Curran said if Bentley plays it right, Hightower will be free to do his thing in different spots on the field. Curran believes that with former Patriot Jerod Mayo now working as linebackers coach, Bentley will become more productive on defense, especially against the opponent’s running game.

Curran is convinced that the Patriots defense that limited the Los Angeles Rams to three points in Super Bowl LIII will be even better if Bentley lives up to expectations.

Cornerback JC Jackson also expected to shine

Another player who is expected to flourish in the 2019 season is cornerback J.C. Jackson, who went undrafted last season but made it to the Patriots’ 53-man roster that marched its way to a sixth Super Bowl title. Entering his second season, fans expect Jackson to showcase more of his talent. Pro Football Focus recently ranked Jackson ranked as the top corner last season in terms of Passer Rating allowed (42.0). Jackson’s rating was 18 points higher than Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox. Jackson also landed seventh in terms of forced incompletion rate and 12th when it comes to coverage grade (82.4). J.C. Jackson tallied 24 tackles and three interceptions last season.