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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Focusing on safety rotation

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the big storylines entering Thursday's game against the Buccaneers was a possible safety rotation, with Brandon Meriweather being replaced by Sergio Brown.

It happened on the third series of the game.

But before reading too much into that, one must consider that the Patriots then continued the rotation on the next series, with Meriweather coming back into the game for Patrick Chung.

Here was how things broke down at safety:

1. Meriweather/Chung
2. Meriweather/Chung
3. Brown/Chung
4. Meriweather/Brown
5. Meriweather/Chung
6. Brown/Chung
7. Meriweather/Brown
--halftime--
8. Meriweather/Chung
9. Meriweather/Brown
10. Meriweather/Brown
11. Brown/Buddy Farnham
12. Brown/Farnham

ANALYSIS: The coaching staff is mixing and matching, seeing what combination works best. Veteran James Sanders, who is close to a return to practice, figures to also be part of this mix. Chung might have been held out of the second half after hurting his wrist, but it isn't anything serious. When looking at the rotation, one can see why the Patriots signed James Ihedigbo. The team is thin at safety depth-wise, as Farnham is a wide receiver.