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Going first to third, Pats show third down defense a priority

08.12.11 at 8:13 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Like Bill Belichick said two weeks ago, it doesn’t matter if you are in 3-4, 4-3 or 0-11 for that matter, if you don’t get pressure on the quarterback and don’t get off the field on third down, you’re in for a long day on defense.

Well, on Thursday the Patriots – thanks to Mark Anderson and Dane Fletcher – they did both in a 47-12 demolition of the Jaguars.

After giving up a third down conversion to Blaine Gabbert and the Jags on the first chance of the night, the Pats stopped the six with authority, recording a sack and three QB hurries in the process.

“It’€™s always important to play well on third down and in the red area, which we did a better job of,” Belichick said. “But again, we’€™ve got a long way to go. There were plenty of third-down conversions that we could have been on a little bit tighter. We’€™ve got a lot of work to do. We made some plays and our red area defense was decent. At least we kept them out of the end zone, even though we gave up some yards and they drove it on us, but at least we were better in the red area.”

After all the talk last year, it would certainly appear third down defense was a point of emphasis.

‘€œI mean, last year is in the past and we’€™re moving on,” Fletcher said. “We’€™re definitely trying to work on the third downs, along with first and second downs. Yeah, we have to work on it. There’€™s a lot we have to work on.’€

Anderson, added to the DL mix this summer from the Bears, got credit for two of the hurries on Gabbert.

‘€œYeah I felt I had a couple of good rushes there,” Anderson said. “I worked hard in the offseason on pass-rushing and I just wanted to get out there on a live body and work some of the stuff that I worked on in the offseason. It worked out pretty good for me, but hopefully I can bring that to the season and bring that to the team and we can make something happen.’€

Read More: 2011 training camp, Bill Belichick, Dane Fletcher, Mark Anderson
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