Defensive groupings: 3 CB base package

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
2:30
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the New England Patriots' defensive breakdown between their sub and base packages. This can highlight player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of each game.

What stood out from last Sunday's win against the Texans was that the team didn't go to its regular sub defense often (14 of 59 snaps).

Instead of adding a fifth defensive back against all three-receiver packages, the Patriots sometimes subbed out a safety (Duron Harmon/Steve Gregory) in favor of a third cornerback (Kyle Arrington). So while they technically remained in a base defense with four players in the secondary, it had a sub-package element to it.

We previously saw the Patriots use that package against the Buccaneers on Sept. 22 and it highlights some coaching creativity as they tailor a plan to each specific matchup.

That plan contributed to one of the highest percentages of "base" defense the Patriots have played this season (76.2 percent). The season average, entering the game, was 29.6 percent in base.

Overall, here are the numbers for the season (includes penalties):

Sub defense: 573 of 874 snaps (65.5 percent)
Base defense: 286 of 874 snaps (32.7 percent)
Short-yardage: 15 of 874 snaps (1.7 percent)

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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