New England Patriots: Bret Lockett

Lockett to IR; Adams promoted

December, 9, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots placed safety and core special teams player Bret Lockett on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday, and promoted defensive lineman Titus Adams from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster.

Lockett, a rookie who totaled five special teams tackles in 10 games, injured his groin Nov. 30 at New Orleans.

Adams (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) has spent the majority of the last two seasons on the Patriots' practice squad. He adds depth along the defensive line behind Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor and Ron Brace.
In recapping the Patriots' 22-21 loss to the Dolphins, a few special teams changes were notable because of the ever-evolving makeup of the team's roster:

1. Starting inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, who was part of every defensive package and thus played every snap, was taken off the punt coverage team. Rob Ninkovich took his spot.

2. The alignment of the kickoff return unit was tweaked by adding running back Sammy Morris to the front line and leaving two players in the wedge (Chris Baker, Dan Connolly) instead of three. The changes once again didn't produce the desired result, as the unit averaged only 19.8 yards per return.

3. With core special-teamer Bret Lockett inactive with a groin injury, first-year cornerback Kyle Arrington filled his role as gunner on the punt coverage team.

4. Rich Ohrnberger stepped in for the injured Stephen Neal (ankle) on the field-goal protection unit.

Special teams could take hit

December, 3, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots' special-teams units could take a hit this week as safety Bret Lockett missed practice Thursday because of a groin injury.

Lockett is a core special-teams player, playing on the punt return, punt coverage, kickoff return, and kickoff coverage units. He is a gunner on the punt coverage team, lining up wide and often the first player down the field.

Elsewhere on the injury front, veteran running back Fred Taylor (ankle) remained out of practice Thursday while 16 players -- a group including rookie left tackle Sebastian Vollmer (head) -- were limited. Safety Pat Chung (head) was removed from the injury report.

On the Dolphins side, starting center Jake Grove missed his second day of practice with an ankle injury. Grove was signed this offseason, in part, to square off against Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork. So his availability is an important development to follow.

Special teams tackle leaders

November, 26, 2009
A look at the Patriots' leaders in special teams tackles (based on coaches' film review), which can highlight the value of some lesser publicized players:

LB Pierre Woods -- 12
LB Eric Alexander -- 9
S Brandon McGowan -- 9
S Pat Chung -- 8
WR Sam Aiken -- 7
CB Kyle Arrington -- 5
S Bret Lockett -- 5
S Brandon Meriweather -- 5
WR Matthew Slater -- 5
LB Rob Ninkovich -- 4
K Stephen Gostkowski -- 4

Handing out three Patriots stars

November, 23, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Awarding three stars to top performers in the Patriots' 31-14 win over the Jets:

No. 1 star: Wes Welker -- Receiver just might be Patriots' most valuable player, totaling a career-high 15 receptions for 192 yards.

No. 2 star: Tully Banta-Cain -- Outside linebacker doesn't start but makes the most of his playing time with two sacks, five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

No. 3 star: Leigh Bodden -- Cornerback intercepts three errant Mark Sanchez passes and returns one for a touchdown, as he is the beneficiary of some erratic quarterback play.

And at the opposite end of the spectrum:

No. 1: Punt team -- Blocked punt recovered for a touchdown -- which could have been the result of being without personal protector Sam Aiken -- is one of the downers. [Updated 11:50 a.m. -- Belichick said the personal protectors, Pat Chung and Julian Edelman, got the job done.]

No. 2: Jonathan Wilhite -- Cornerback is in coverage on a 29-yard touchdown hookup from Sanchez to Jerricho Cotchery.

No. 3: Bret Lockett -- Safety is called for two penalties on special teams, an illegal blindside block (declined) and illegal hands to the face.