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Volin: Can Patriots Defense Pick Up The Slack Without Revis?

BOSTON (CBS) - The Boston Globe's Ben Volin called in to 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Tuesday morning to talk some Patriots and NFL free agency.

Barely a week old, New England has already lost some core players in free agency, most notably Vince Wilfork, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

But according to Volin, there is good news.

"[Patriots] didn't have a ton of free agents walking away from this team. This wasn't like the Ravens two years ago when they won the Super Bowl and had to completely blow up the core of the team with free agents and guys retiring," said Volin.

With Ndamukong Suh signing in Miami, Revis in New York and LeSean McCoy traded to Buffalo, the AFC East has gotten a lot tougher since the end of the 2014 season. However, New England still has the two most important people in the division.

"They still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. That's a pretty good start when you're building a roster. With all the moves the AFC East teams have made, those two right there are the reason why the Patriots are still at the top of the division and they're going to be the favorites next year."

Looking at the roster, it's hard not to like who's coming back in 2015.

"They've got most of their offensive line back, and if they re-sign Dan Connolly that's all five guys. Rob Gronkowski is going to be healthy. He's not rehabbing this offseason. Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, we all know they can be fantastic pieces of the offense. Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Devin McCourty -- they've still got the core of the Super Bowl team."

Volin adds the Patriots probably aren't too upset about losing Brandon Browner, but Wilfork and Revis are two players they will miss, although one is more replaceable than the other.

"Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch can fill in and kind of do what Vince did anyways. It's not like Vince put up major sack numbers or anything like that. Really, the only concern is can they get by without Darrelle Revis?

"They're beefing up the pass rush; they went out and got Jabaal Sheard. I wouldn't be surprised if they signed another defensive tackle and try to get more stout on the defensive line to kind of make up for any deficiencies they have in the secondary. There's no question that the secondary is going to be worse without Revis, but maybe the defense as a whole can pick up the slack. If they get better on the front end they can still be a good defense next year."

Listen below for the full free agency discussion:

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