Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Shining spotlight on LB Spikes
By Mike Reiss
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonPatriots linebacker Brandon Spikes got set back by missing time in August.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When it comes to playing time this season, it has been a steady progression for linebacker Brandon Spikes.
The 2010 second-round draft choice was inactive for the opener after missing most of training camp with an ankle injury. He played 19 snaps against the Chargers, 48 against the Bills, 46 vs. the Raiders and 52 against the Jets.
With starting linebacker Jerod Mayo out with a sprained MCL, Spikes was leaned on heavily on Sunday, playing in both the base and sub defense. Seeing Spikes in the sub, over Dane Fletcher, was a surprise.
On Wednesday, coach Bill Belichick was asked about Spikes' increased time and what he's done well on the field, and what he needs to do better. The answer didn't sound like a ringing endorsement from this perspective.
“He missed so much playing time -- practice time and play time -- during training camp and the preseason, so this is almost, these last three weeks, kinda almost been like his preseason, unfortunately," Belichick answered.
"I think that practicing on a daily basis, playing on a regular basis, that’s what he needed to do. I think he’s still got a long way to go, he’s probably where a lot of our guys were in September, just because he missed all of August. His timing, his overall reaction, execution, all those things, are OK. They are coming along, but I like to think they’ll be better now that he’s starting to get into game shape and reacting like you have to react on the football field, both mentally and physically.
"He’s doing some good things, but he’s still got a long way to go. The fact that he’s been out there, finally, on a consistent basis to practice and play, nothing’s helped him more than that.”