Core 4: Tarpinian carves out niche

October, 3, 2011
OAKLAND -- When putting together a 46-man game-day roster, special teams is often a big factor. With this in mind, here is a look at players who appeared on multiple special teams units:

Four units
LB Dane Fletcher
WR Matthew Slater
LB Jeff Tarpinian
LB Tracy White

Three units
CB Kyle Arrington
S Josh Barrett
S James Ihedigbo*

Two units
S Sergio Brown
KR/PR Julian Edelman
LB Rob Ninkovich
RB Danny Woodhead

ANALYSIS: This charting used the traditional personnel on punt return, not the plus-50 "watch-for-the-fake" team. It wasn't until midway through the fourth quarter until that unit was called on, and with injuries, that could have altered some of the personnel. ... Special teams tackles were credited to WR Matthew Slater, LB Jeff Tarpinian, S Sergio Brown and P Zoltan Mesko. ... S James Ihedigbo has been a "Core 4" player and it's possible his presence was missed on the punt return team. That will be something to follow up on. ... The Patriots used Sergio Brown and Josh Barrett as "gunners" on punt coverage late in the game, as they assumed the roles often held by Matthew Slater and Kyle Arrington. ... Rookie RB Shane Vereen showed up on the punt return team. ... CB Phillip Adams also played on the punt return unit.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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