Snaps: Jones & Gregory take seat

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
11:15
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team’s 41-34 loss to the 49ers, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error):

LB Jerod Mayo – 67 of 67
S Devin McCourty – 67 of 67
DE Rob Ninkovich – 67 of 67
DL Vince Wilfork – 66 of 67
LB Dont’a Hightower – 64 of 67
CB Aqib Talib – 62 of 67
LB Brandon Spikes – 50 of 67
S Steve Gregory – 48 of 67
DL Brandon Deaderick – 47 of 67
DL Kyle Love – 39 of 67
CB Alfonzo Dennard – 38 of 67
DE Chandler Jones – 34 of 67
CB Kyle Arrington – 31 of 67
DE/DL Justin Francis – 21 of 67
S Patrick Chung – 19 of 67
LB Mike Rivera – 5 of 67
CB Marquice Cole – 4 of 67
S Tavon Wilson – 4 of 67
DE Trevor Scott – 3 of 67
LB Niko Koutouvides – 1 of 67

(Penalties included. Kneel-downs not included. Fake punt not included.)

ANALYSIS: Rookie end Chandler Jones was kept on the sideline for six drives after the 49ers’ 9-yard touchdown run by Frank Gore early in the third quarter. Jones appeared to get caught watching the play and was easily single-blocked before being pushed to the ground by a doubling offensive lineman late. Rookie Justin Francis took Jones’ place. Jones was on the field for just three snaps the rest of the game after Gore's TD, all in the “heavy” package at the end of the fourth quarter. Looked like a "rookie moment" on a broken play for Jones and one the coaching staff addressed quickly. … The other notable personnel change came at safety, where Steve Gregory was replaced by Patrick Chung in the base defense after Michael Crabtree’s 27-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Gregory was spotted with a bandage on his head, although his absence was not injury-related, according to the team. The status of Jones and Gregory will be areas to watch in the weeks to come. … Not including the final kneel-down, the Patriots’ defense was on the field for 16 drives. That’s a high total, and reflects how the 49ers had three one-play scoring “drives.” The big play hurt the Patriots again -- an early-season problem returning after things had settled down in recent weeks. … The Patriots subbed out end Chandler Jones for bigger DL Brandon Deaderick when the 49ers went big on offense. … No rotation at the other end spot, as Rob Ninkovich went wire to wire. … The lone snap not played by DL Vince Wilfork came midway through the second quarter as it looked to be part of a set rotation to keep him fresh. … Unlike past games, LB Dont’a Hightower took all the nickel reps alongside Jerod Mayo instead of splitting them with Brandon Spikes. … LB Mike Rivera started at middle linebacker over Spikes but didn’t play a defensive snap the rest of the game. That’s a question for Bill Belichick today – was that a result of Rivera practicing all week because Spikes was limited with injury, or something else? (update: Belichick said on his Monday conference call that it was a result of Spikes being limited in practice and the team wanting to see how things looked as the game began.) … CB Alfonzo Dennard didn’t return after leaving with a knee injury at the end of the second quarter.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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