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Bill Parcells: This Patriots team is better than 2011 edition

11.12.12 at 11:41 pm ET

Bill Parcells has faith.

The former Patriots coach said Monday that despite any struggles New England has faced over the course of the first nine games of the season — particularly on the defensive side of the ball — he believes this year’€™s Patriots’ team is better than the one that came up just short against the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in all three phases of the game.

And he’s told Bill Belichick that on several occasions.

‘€œI do communicate with Bill sometimes during the year — usually via text, occasionally, it’€™ll be a phone call,’€ Parcells said Monday afternoon. ‘€œI told him that I thought his team was a better team this year than it was last year, and I really believe that. I really think that. I know they went to the Super Bowl last year, but I believe they’€™re better now than they were in 2011. Football is a very unusual game — a bounce here or there can affect them, and I think that’€™s ultimately what happened to them last year.

‘€œBut this year, they are certainly one of the top contenders in the AFC — they’€™re a team that I don’€™t think a lot of teams would look forward to playing late in the season and into the playoffs. You see things differently from a coaching perspective, and I think people need to realize that.’€

Parcells is confident about the state of the offense. However, on the other side of the ball, the Patriots have been pilloried for their pass defense over the course of the first nine games — New England has given up an average of 285.3 passing yards per game (fourth-most in the league), 47 pass plays of 20 yards or more (most in the league) and 19 touchdown passes (tied for third-most in the league).

While Parcells said you could take the pass defense to task, you also have to consider the state of the pass rush, which has struggled at times to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Parcells believes that while Belichick and the Patriots have taken strides in the right direction with a handful of additions in free agency and the draft (including first-round selection Chandler Jones this past spring), they could still use another pass rusher.

‘€œI think you can talk about the pass defense, but at the same time, you need to also talk about the pass rush,’€ Parcells said. ‘€œI know Bill addressed that this past season with the addition of a few guys like Chandler Jones, but I think they could use another guy coming off that edge. They could use another pressure player off the corner.’€

In the end, Parcells has faith that Belichick and the Patriots will be able to ‘€œfigure it out’€ between now and the end of the season.

‘€œBill knows what the problems are, and he’€™s better than just about anyone when it comes to identifying the problems and going about trying to fix it and adjust it,’€ Parcells said. ‘€œWith the wide-open offenses, the problems with pass defense are everywhere. It’€™s just a matter of making the adjustments and seeing who can play best late in the season, and I’€™m confident that Bill will have them headed in the right direction.’€

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