Breaking down Patriots' defensive snaps

August, 16, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Breaking down snaps played by Patriots defenders in Friday's preseason game against the Eagles:

Marcus Forston -- 37 of 62
Joe Vellano -- 32 of 62
Zach Moore -- 28 of 62
Will Smith -- 24 of 62
Vince Wilfork -- 18 of 62
L.T. Tuipulotu -- 17 of 62
Tommy Kelly -- 15 of 62
Eathyn Manumaleuna -- 11 of 62

Quick-hit thought: The top trio was Kelly, Wilfork and Vellano, with veteran Will Smith coming on as the fourth option in nickel. This group is a bit thin without the injured Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga, and that's why the Patriots acquired Jerel Worthy and Ben Bass in two trades last week.

Darius Fleming -- 40 of 62
Jake Bequette -- 34 of 62
Chandler Jones -- 18 of 62
Rob Ninkovich -- 18 of 62
Michael Buchanan -- 11 of 62

Quick-hit thought: Jones and Ninkovich played for the first time this preseason, starting the game, and then it was a chance to take a long look at Fleming and Bequette. The Patriots' 2012 third-round draft choice, Bequette didn't register on the stat sheet.

Chris White -- 28 of 62
Steve Beauharnais -- 28 of 62
Dont'a Hightower -- 19 of 62
Jamie Collins -- 18 of 62
James Morris -- 13 of 62
Deontae Skinner -- 6 of 62

Quick-hit thought: With Jerod Mayo and James Anderson not dressed for the game, the depth at this spot behind Hightower and Collins was exposed a bit.

Malcolm Butler -- 49 of 62
Brandon Browner -- 25 of 62
Daxton Swanson -- 13 of 62
Darrelle Revis -- 12 of 62

Quick-hit thought: The numbers tell the story -- Butler has the coaching staff intrigued to the point that it wants to see more. No defensive player has been on for more snaps than the undrafted free agent from West Alabama over the first two preseason games (113 of 135). The versatility of Logan Ryan showed up, too, as he played corner and safety in this game (he's listed as a safety).

Logan Ryan -- 33 of 62
Nate Ebner -- 26 of 62
Jemea Thomas -- 23 of 62
Duron Harmon -- 19 of 62
Kyle Arrington -- 14 of 62
Devin McCourty -- 14 of 62
Shamiel Gary -- 13 of 62
Travis Hawkins -- 13 of 62
Patrick Chung -- 12 of 62

Quick-hit thought: A new look for the defense when Arrington and Ryan are playing safety instead of corner, which was one of the more notable takeaways on defense. Ebner, a core special-teamer, flashed as well. Third-year player Tavon Wilson was among the injured players who didn't suit up and after seeing so many players worked into the mix, it makes one wonder about the security of his roster spot.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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