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Saturday, October 26, 2013
Arrington's role as 5th DB in focus

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the New England Patriots' defensive breakdown between their sub and base packages. This can highlight player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of each game.

Last Sunday against the Jets, the Patriots played a season-high 92 snaps (including penalties) and 58 were in sub (5 or more defensive backs), with the remaining 34 in either a 4-3 or 5-2 base.

Overall, here are the numbers for the season (includes penalties):

Sub defense: 348 of 512 snaps
Base defense: 154 of 512 snaps
Short-yardage: 10 of 512 snaps

One area to watch Sunday, assuming cornerback Aqib Talib plays, will be who the Patriots tap as their fifth defensive back. That has regularly been cornerback Kyle Arrington. But bumped up to a starting role last week, Arrington struggled over the first three series and was replaced by a combination of Marquice Cole and rookie Logan Ryan in playing just three snaps the rest of the game.

As the statistics show, with the Patriots in sub defense 68 percent of the time, the fifth defensive back is essentially a starter.