Chase Winovich was arguably the Patriots' best defensive player over the first few weeks of the season, but he's played just 22 and 13 snaps the last two weeks.
Some pointed to his personal foul penalty against the 49ers following a Jimmy Garoppolo interception to his reduced playing time, but Bill Belichick said Monday that was not the case.
ESPN's Mike Reiss nicely detailed how it seems the team just doesn't view him as a three-down linebacker at the moment.
Speaking Tuesday, Belichick was asked what he's seen from Winovich on first and second down of late.
"Well, look, it's really all about team defense. I think, speaking for all of us, we've had some good moments and we've had some not so good ones and what we need is more consistency," he said. "That comes from everybody across the board. Chase plays hard, he's a great pursuit player, he’s strong at the point of attack, he can defeat blockers and can rush the passer. But, just collectively, we all have to be more consistent in our execution of the defense and our fundamentals in the defense. We’ve given up too many yards, however it's come – running game, passing game – the last two weeks in those situations. We've just got to coach better and we’ve got to play better. So, you could say that about everybody on the defensive unit, including all the defensive coaches and players and staff and everybody else. We just need to be better."
As for the lack of playing time, Belichick said he expects him to continue to play.
"I think he's been the same player," he said. "Some of it’s situational and game plan and the way things worked out the last two games, but he’s a good player for us and he'll continue to play."