Defensive snaps: Jones earns trust

September, 10, 2012
9/10/12
7:00
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NASHVILLE – A look at the snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team’s season-opening 34-13 win over the Titans, while analyzing what it might mean (charted by ESPNBoston.com):

LB Jerod Mayo – 65 of 65
CB Devin McCourty – 64 of 65
CB Kyle Arrington – 63 of 65
DE Chandler Jones – 58 of 65
DT Vince Wilfork – 55 of 65
S Patrick Chung – 51 of 65
DE Rob Ninkovich – 50 of 65
S Steve Gregory – 49 of 65
S Tavon Wilson – 42 of 65
DT Kyle Love – 40 of 65
LB Dont’a Hightower – 40 of 65
LB Brandon Spikes – 38 of 65
CB Ras-I Dowling – 36 of 65
DE/DT Jermaine Cunningham – 23 of 65
DT Brandon Deaderick – 16 of 65
DE Trevor Scott – 7 of 65
DT Ron Brace – 6 of 65
CB Marquice Cole – 6 of 65
S Nate Ebner – 5 of 65
CB Sterling Moore – 1 of 65

(Including penalties.)

ANALYSIS: Right defensive end Chandler Jones hardly comes off the field, which is an indication of how quickly he’s earned the confidence of the coaching staff. While other players were part of a rotation, Jones was not. … Linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Brandon Spikes split time in the nickel. Both came off in the dime as Jerod Mayo is the lone all-packages linebacker. … Cornerback Ras-I Dowling was the nickel back, and when he came on to the field, it pushed Kyle Arrington into the slot. … One line of thinking was that maybe Vince Wilfork would see a reduction in snaps with more depth on the line, but that wasn’t the case in the opener. He had a heavy workload. … Jermaine Cunningham saw time at defensive end in the base defense and also as an interior rusher in the dime package, and was productive based on his snaps, also drawing a holding penalty. … The top three safeties – Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson – were part of a rotation.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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