In a statistic that highlights the importance of the Patriots' top backup at defensive back, the team was in its sub package for 50 percent of the plays (including penalties) in Monday's season opener.
The usage of sub packages will be charted here throughout the season.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick previously made the point that the defense was in a sub package more than 50 percent of the time last season. That stat stood out as a reflection of how more NFL offenses are spreading the field with receivers, forcing the opposition to play with more defensive backs.
Throughout the game, the defense adopted a cornerback rotation among Wilhite, Springs and rookie Darius Butler.
The usage of sub packages also directly relates to veteran defensive end Derrick Burgess. While Burgess saw some time in the base 4-3 defense, he is most valuable rushing the passer when the sub package is on the field.
With the Patriots playing such a significant number of snaps in the sub package, it explains, in part, why the team was willing to trade third-round and fifth-round draft choices to acquire him from Oakland.
Mike Reiss first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005 to 2009, he covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004. Send any questions or comments for Mike to his mailbag. Follow him on Twitter here.