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Monday, January 2, 2012
Defensive snaps: Edelman draws notice

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Snaps played by Patriots defenders in the 49-21 win over the Bills, and analyzing what it might mean (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

S Patrick Chung – 71 of 71
LB Jerod Mayo – 71 of 71
CB/S Devin McCourty – 70 of 71
CB Antwaun Molden – 65 of 71
DE Mark Anderson – 60 of 71
DL Vince Wilfork – 58 of 71
CB Kyle Arrington – 50 of 71
DL Kyle Love – 44 of 71
CB Julian Edelman – 41 of 71
DL Brandon Deaderick – 38 of 71
LB Dane Fletcher – 38 of 71
CB Sterling Moore – 37 of 71
CB Nate Jones – 27 of 71
DE Shaun Ellis – 25 of 71
DE/LB Rob Ninkovich – 24 of 71
S James Ihedigbo – 23 of 71
DL Gerard Warren – 21 of 71
LB Brandon Spikes – 18 of 71

(Snaps include defensive pass interference, delay of game, illegal use of hands and personal foul penalties.)

ANALYSIS: Julian Edelman’s performance on defense might have been undersold in the immediate aftermath of the game. His work replacing Nate Jones in the nickel was notable, as he came on for the fourth series of the game and played 41 straight snaps. When he came on the field, the Bills were already leading 21-0. When he left, it was 41-21 Patriots. Meanwhile, the 41 snaps were easily a season high for Edelman, whose previous high mark on defense was 19 (vs. Redskins). … Brandon Spikes entered on the fourth drive of the game, replacing Dane Fletcher in the nickel. Spikes played two series in the first half and just the opening half of the second half before his day was over. … There was no holding back safety Patrick Chung, who turned in a wire to wire effort and looked sharp. … Linebacker/defensive end Rob Ninkovich might have aggravated his injured hip as he played the first 24 defensive snaps of the game before departing for the day. Ninkovich has a dual role – playing strongside linebacker in the 4-3 base and moving to end as a rusher in sub – and the Patriots don’t have another player who could do both so losing Ninkovich could require some moving parts. ... Mark Anderson didn't leave the field over the final nine drives of the game as the Patriots were in nickel and were relying on Anderson as their top edge rusher. … Sterling Moore played eight snaps in the first half, and 29 in the second. Moore replaced Kyle Arrington at right cornerback in the nickel to open the second half. … With Devin McCourty moving to safety in the sub, which the Patriots were mostly in because of the Bills’ spread attack, Antwaun Molden saw his most extended playing time in weeks at cornerback. … On the flip side, James Ihedigbo’s playing time at safety was reduced, as he was used in the base 4-3 – which the Patriots weren’t in often -- and then occasionally in sub.