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Monday, December 16, 2013
Snaps: CB Cole was targeted quickly

By Mike Reiss

MIAMI -- A look at snaps played by Patriots defenders in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

S Steve Gregory -- 63 of 63
S Devin McCourty -- 63 of 63
DE Rob Ninkovich -- 63 of 63
CB Aqib Talib -- 63 of 63
CB Kyle Arrington -- 61 of 63
DE Chandler Jones -- 61 of 63
CB Alfonzo Dennard -- 57 of 63
LB Dont'a Hightower -- 40 of 63
DT Chris Jones -- 38 of 63
NT Sealver Siliga -- 38 of 63
LB Jamie Collins --29 of 63
DT Joe Vellano -- 24 of 63
LB Dane Fletcher -- 23 of 63
LB Brandon Spikes -- 21 of 63
CB Logan Ryan -- 17 of 63
NT Isaac Sopoaga -- 15 of 63
DE Andre Carter -- 13 of 63
CB Marquice Cole -- 4 of 63

(Penalties included.)

Analysis: When Cole came on late in the second quarter for the injured Arrington, the Dolphins quickly targeted him and produced a 39-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Mike Wallace. As part of a game plan that had top corner Talib playing inside for most of the game, Arrington's injury created a situation where Cole, more of a natural slot corner, aligned on the outside against Wallace. That was a matchup the Dolphins took advantage of, and led to the question: What made Cole a better option than the rookie Ryan, or even McCourty (with Duron Harmon entering at safety)? ... At defensive tackle, Siliga and Chris Jones were the top combination, with the rookie Vellano third on the depth chart, followed by Sopoaga. ... Chandler Jones, who usually plays every snap, missed two in the third quarter when he stayed down after one play. It appeared to just be cramping, as he came back quickly. ... Spikes had a limited workload, in part because the Patriots were mostly in sub defenses and seemed to prefer the speed/athleticism of either the rookie Collins or the four-year veteran Fletcher.