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Highlighting core special teamers

1/15/2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In putting together a 46-man game-day roster, the role of special teams often is an important consideration.

For the Patriots, it's one of the main reasons why a player like Niko Koutouvides, who was signed midway through the season, would be active for Saturday night's playoff game against the Broncos over four-year veteran Gary Guyton. Ditto for Dane Fletcher.

Both Koutouvides and Fletcher played on each of the "Big 4" units on special teams -- punt coverage, punt return, kickoff return and kickoff coverage. Both also played a bit on defense, Koutouvides as part of a sub package and Fletcher as a reserve behind Brandon Spikes.

Guyton has filled those roles on defense in the past, and played well, but he is not viewed as a primary contributor on special teams.

With this in mind, here is a look at those who played on multiple units in Saturday's win:

Four units

S Sergio Brown

LB Dane Fletcher

LB Niko Koutouvides

WR/S Matthew Slater

LB Tracy White

Three units

CB Malcolm Williams

Two units

S Patrick Chung

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis

S James Ihedigbo

CB Devin McCourty

CB Antwaun Molden

NOTES: The personnel on the punt return unit was charted on the team's first return, with Wes Welker back as the primary returner. The Patriots later brought Julian Edelman and Kevin Faulk on for a punt return. ... FB Lousaka Polite played on the wedge in the kickoff reutrn unit. ... In-game statisticians credited Sergio Brown, Kyle Arrington, Tracy White and Julian Edelman with special teams tackles.