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Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Defensive snaps: Ninkovich leads

By Mike Reiss

A look at snaps played by defenders in Sunday's season-finale against the Dolphins, while highlighting a few areas that were different than the norm (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

OLB/DE Rob Ninkovich -- 58 of 61
LB Gary Guyton -- 55 of 61
OLB/DE Eric Moore -- 53 of 61
S Patrick Chung -- 49 of 61
CB Kyle Arrington -- 48 of 61
CB Darius Butler -- 44 of 61
LB Jerod Mayo -- 44 of 61
CB Devin McCourty -- 44 of 61
DL Kyle Love - 40 of 61
DL Vince Wilfork -- 38 of 61
DL Landon Cohen -- 35 of 61
S Brandon Meriweather -- 31 of 61
LB Dane Fletcher -- 28 of 61
S James Sanders -- 27 of 61
DL Myron Pryor -- 21 of 61
S Jarrad Page -- 17 of 61
DL Gerard Warren -- 17 of 61
CB Tony Carter -- 12 of 61
S Sergio Brown -- 4 of 61
DE Jermaine Cunningham -- 4 of 61
LB Tracy White -- 2 of 61

(Snaps include offensive holding, ineligible man downfield and defensive pass interference penalties.)

ANALYSIS: With Tully Banta-Cain (groin) inactive and Jermaine Cunningham (calf) playing sparingly as an edge rusher in the nickel early, it thrust Rob Ninkovich into more of a three-down role. Ninkovich has mostly been a first- and second-down player, although he made the most of his opportunities on third down Sunday. ... Eric Moore played his most extended action as a 3-4 outside linebacker, dropping into coverage at times. As a 4-3 defensive end for most of his NFL career, Moore showed some athleticism in the role. That will be something to watch going forward. ... Overall, this was a game in which the Patriots rotated players at various spots in a performance that highlighted the depth of the club.