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Monday, October 21, 2013
Snaps: How Patriots filled Mayo void

By reissm

A look at the snaps played by New England Patriots' defenders in Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the New York Jets, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

DE Chandler Jones – 92 of 92
S Devin McCourty – 92 of 92
DE Rob Ninkovich – 92 of 92
CB Alfonzo Dennard – 90 of 90
DT Chris Jones – 87 of 92
LB Dont’a Hightower – 85 of 92
DT Joe Vellano – 77 of 92
LB Brandon Spikes – 73 of 92
S Steve Gregory – 66 of 92
CB Logan Ryan – 66 of 92
CB Marquice Cole – 61 of 92
CB Kyle Arrington – 34 of 92
S Duron Harmon – 30 of 92
DT Marcus Forston – 26 of 92
LB Jamie Collins – 15 of 92
DE Michael Buchanan – 14 of 92
LB Dane Fletcher – 7 of 92
DT Andre Neblett – 5 of 92

(Includes penalties. Not including kneel-down at the end of the fourth quarter.)

ANALYSIS: One of the big storylines entering the game was how the Patriots would replace LB Jerod Mayo, and it was a multi-layered approach that was dictated by what personnel the Jets put on the field. The Patriots inserted rookie Jamie Collins into the game at Mayo’s weakside linebacker spot in the 4-3 base defense, but the Patriots trended toward a 5-2 base for a bigger front seven instead of the 4-3. Most notable was when the Jets often had fullback Tommy Bohanon on the field in a specific grouping, the Patriots played with linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Brandon Spikes, and instead of bringing on Collins elected for extra bulk up front with Marcus Forston as a third defensive tackle in the 5-2. Otherwise, the Patriots were mostly in their 4-2-5 nickel or 4-1-6 dime with Hightower/Spikes the primary linebacker combination in nickel and Hightower staying on in the dime. Hightower and Spikes are bigger linebackers and they looked a step behind in the passing game at times. That’s probably where the Patriots missed Mayo most – his range and speed in the sub. … Cornerback Kyle Arrington was essentially benched after the third series, as he struggled against receiver Jeremy Kerley. He only played three snaps the rest of the game, replaced by Marquice Cole. … Former Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld played one offensive snap for the Jets. … The 92 snaps were easily a season-high. Even if the game didn’t go to overtime, when the Patriots were on the field for 13 defensive snaps, it would have been the most defensive snaps played in a game.