Base D tops sub for 1st time

September, 27, 2013
One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the 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.

Through two games, the Patriots leaned heavily toward the sub (5 or more defensive backs), playing it 105 of 138 snaps.

But after Sunday's unique plan that featured a three-cornerback/one-safety secondary against the Buccaneers' three-receiver approach, which kept a sturdy front-seven to defend against the run, the base numbers (37 snaps vs. Tampa Bay, compared to 34 in sub) have increased:

Sub defense: 139 of 209 snaps
Base defense: 70 of 209 snaps

Spinning it forward, the feeling here is that the Falcons' most effective approach is with three receivers.

But unlike last week against the Buccaneers, the projection is that the Patriots will play more pure sub defense against that package, in part because of the feeling they can handle the running game with a lighter box against a Falcons offensive line that probably isn't as strong as Tampa Bay's.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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