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Monday, December 10, 2012
Patriots defensive snaps update

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With three-quarters of the regular season concluded, a look at snaps played by Patriots defenders, which highlights personnel value (small margin for error):

Defensive end
Rob Ninkovich (706 of 836) – 84.4 percent
Chandler Jones (577 of 836) – 69.0 percent
Jermaine Cunningham (430 of 836) – 51.4 percent
Trevor Scott (160 of 836) – 19.1 percent
Justin Francis (74 of 836) – 8.9 percent
Jake Bequette (29 of 836) – 3.5 percent

Quick-hit: Ninkovich has emerged as a front-line player after a slower start to the season. … Jones, the team’s top draft choice, was up over 90 percent before an ankle injury sidelined him in the first quarter of the team’s Nov. 18 win over the Colts. He's expected to return tonight.

Defensive tackle
Vince Wilfork (675 of 836) – 80.7 percent
Kyle Love (443 of 836) – 53.0 percent
Brandon Deaderick (197 of 836) – 23.6 percent
Ron Brace (92 of 836) – 11.0 percent
Terrell McClain (16 of 836) – 1.9 percent
Marcus Forston (8 of 836) – 1.0 percent

Quick-hit: Wilfork’s numbers are down slightly from last season, as the team has found spots to rest him at times. But he’s as much of a factor as ever. Depth behind him is thinner than the norm.

Linebacker
Jerod Mayo (804 of 836) – 96.2 percent
Brandon Spikes (632 of 836) – 75.6 percent
Dont’a Hightower (360 of 836) – 43.1 percent
Tracy White (31 of 836) – 3.1 percent
Mike Rivera (9 of 836) – 1.1 percent
Niko Koutouvides (8 of 836) – 1.0 percent
Bobby Carpenter (6 of 836) – 0.7 percent
Jeff Tarpinian (6 of 836) – 0.7 percent

Quick-hit: Mayo is a three-down player who leads the huddle, serving as a “glue” to help keep the defense together. … Spikes’ rise is notable as he’s played in every game this season, which has helped him take a step forward in his progression as a player.

Defensive back
CB/S Devin McCourty (817 of 836) – 97.7 percent
CB Kyle Arrington (631 of 836) – 75.5 percent
CB Alfonzo Dennard (508 of 836) – 60.8 percent
S Steve Gregory (502 of 836) – 60.0 percent
S Tavon Wilson (404 of 836) – 48.3 percent
S Patrick Chung (390 of 836) – 46.7 percent
CB Sterling Moore (233 of 836) – 27.9 percent
CB Aqib Talib (201 of 836) – 24.0 percent
CB Marquice Cole (122 of 836) – 14.6 percent
CB Ras-I Dowling (84 of 836) – 10.0 percent
S Nate Ebner (34 of 836) – 4.1 percent
CB Derrick Martin (8 of 836) – 1.0 percent

Quick-hit: McCourty has settled in at safety, with Talib assuming top duties at McCourty’s old left cornerback spot. With Gregory (safety), Dennard (starting right cornerback) and Arrington (slot cornerback) rounding out the top five, the Patriots seem to have found the combination they like best.