Special teams personnel, Week 5

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
4:10
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the players who showed up on multiple units within the "Big 4" on special teams -- punt coverage, punt return, kickoff coverage, kickoff return -- in Sunday's win over the Broncos, which highlights their value on the 46-man game-day roster (based on the initial unit to take the field):

Four units
LB Bobby Carpenter
CB Marquice Cole
LB Niko Koutouvides
WR Matthew Slater
LB Tracy White

Three units
S Nate Ebner

Two units
CB Kyle Arrington
RB Brandon Bolden
S Patrick Chung
CB Devin McCourty
DE Rob Ninkovich
DE Trevor Scott

ANALYSIS: Veteran Bobby Carpenter, who was signed to replace the injured Dont'a Hightower, didn't play on defense. His sole contributions came on special teams, where he was part of all four core units. ... Rookie running back Brandon Bolden, who played on all four in the win over the Bills on Sept. 30, was on just two units. That could have been related to injury (he was on the injury report), or perhaps it's more of a result of the increased opportunities he is seeing on offense. ... Rookie safety Nate Ebner is slumping a bit. He's been replaced on the punt protection after giving up a costly block in Week 2, but when he was pressed into duty after Tracy White left with a foot injury in the third quarter on Sunday, he was penalized for holding. ... Nice tackle by Kyle Arrington on the opening kickoff. ... For the second week in a row, the Patriots have lightened the load on tight end Rob Gronkowski, taking him out of the wedge on the kickoff return. ... The kickoff return unit remains a disappointment. It's been this way for almost two full seasons now, ever since Brandon Tate dipped midway through the 2010 campaign. It seems like a long time ago when the Patriots were explosive in this area of the game.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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