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Defensive groupings: Sub packages rise

12/18/2013

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.

Last week against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots played all but five snaps in their sub packages (five or six defensive backs). This was a result of treating tight end Charles Clay as more of a wide receiver.

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

Sub defense: 663 of 1,013 snaps (65.4 percent)

Base defense: 330 of 1,013 snaps (32.6 percent)

Short-yardage: 20 of 1,013 snaps (2 percent)

When looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens, it could be more of the same if the Ravens play the way they did against Detroit on Monday night, favoring the three-receiver package. The Ravens used a lead-blocking fullback on just three snaps in the game.

The Patriots' season totals reflect that a fifth defensive back has starter-like value when a team is in sub 65.4 percent of the time.