Playing time: Risers & fallers on D

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
11:15
AM ET
A look at some of the risers and fallers when it comes to playing time on defense between the 2011 season and 2010 season (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

RISERS
S Sergio Brown
-- 25.6% from 7.8%
DL Brandon Deaderick -- 40.6%* from 20.0%
CB Julian Edelman -- 9.3% from 0.0%
DL Kyle Love -- 50.5% from 13.7%
OLB/DE Rob Ninkovich -- 82.3% from 47.0%
S Matthew Slater -- 8.1% from 0.0%
LB Tracy White -- 18.3% from .02%
DL Vince Wilfork -- 86.8% from 69.8%

FALLERS
DL Ron Brace
-- 7.2%* from 25.7%
DE/OLB -- Jermaine Cunningham -- 3.6% from 50.9%
LB Gary Guyton -- 29.6% from 57.0%
DL Gerard Warren -- 27.2% from 45.9%

* Percentage adjusted based on snaps available to play after coming off PUP list.

EXTRA POINTS: LB Jerod Mayo's dip (83.1% from 96.8%) was a result of missing two games and being limited in another with a sprained MCL. CB Devin McCourty had a similar dip (84.2% from 95.4%) because of a shoulder injury. S Patrick Chung (56.8% from 72.3%) as well with a foot injury. ... DL Gerard Warren's slip helped him become more effective as he didn't wear down at the end of the year, and is a good example of how the coaching staff manages a veteran player to get the most out of him. ... OLB/DE Rob Ninkovich made the transition from two-down player to three-down player -- somewhat Vrabel-esque. ... LB Dane Fletcher (22.4% from 13.4%) saw more time on D this year, and the disparity probably would have been greater if he didn't miss time with a hand injury. ... After playing just 2 snaps on defense in 2010, veteran LB Tracy White was part of the mix this year in specific game plans (e.g. Super Bowl). ... CB Kyle Arrington has played a lot of football for the Patriots over the last two seasons -- 77.1% in 2010 and 86.8% in 2011. He is scheduled to earn $1.85 million in 2012 (the final year of his deal) and is a durable player who has earned that spike in pay. ... S Sergio Brown's rise came with the hope he'd emerge as more of a regular option on defense, but his development hit a roadblock and he wasn't part of the defensive mix when it counted. ... Based on the numbers, it seems fair to say 2012 will be "prove it" years for DL Ron Brace and DE/OLB Jermaine Cunningham as they enter the offseason closer to the roster bubble than ever before. ... LB Gary Guyton is an unrestricted free agent who isn't expected back but should land elsewhere.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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