Defensive snaps: Jamie Collins in sub

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
8:45
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at snaps played by New England Patriots defenders in Sunday’s 23-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

S Devin McCourty – 71-of-71
CB Aqib Talib – 70-of-71
DE Chandler Jones – 69-of-71
LB Dont'a Hightower – 64-of-71
LB Jerod Mayo – 63-of-71
DE Rob Ninkovich – 63-of-71
CB Alfonzo Dennard – 59-of-71
S Steve Gregory – 58-of-71
DT Vince Wilfork – 51-of-71
DT Tommy Kelly – 40-of-71
LB Brandon Spikes – 37-of-71
CB Kyle Arrington – 34-of-71
DT Joe Vellano – 27-of-71
CB Logan Ryan – 20-of-71
DE Michael Buchanan – 19-of-71
LB Jamie Collins – 18-of-71
DE Jake Bequette – 11-of-71
S Duron Harmon – 6-of-71
LB Dane Fletcher – 1-of-71

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: The biggest takeaway was the presence of top draft pick Jamie Collins (52nd overall) in the sub defense for the first extended time this season. Collins had played just six defensive snaps through the first two games, so his 18-snap total versus the Buccaneers marks a season high. Collins’ presence in sub gives the Patriots some more speed in that package. Of Collins’ 18 snaps, 15 came in the second half, including eight on the final drive, which adds some context to the numbers. But from this viewpoint, seeing Collins in a sub defense (over Dont'a Hightower and Brandon Spikes) reflects that he has gained some more trust from the coaching staff in terms of his ability to grasp some of the team’s complex schemes. … Overall, the team’s plan to match up CB Aqib Talib on WR Vince Jackson was detailed on Sunday, as the Patriots kept a sturdy seven-man box to also account for RB Doug Martin in the run game. The plans were altered in the second half when Jackson was sidelined with a rib injury and we saw more pure sub defense from the Patriots at that point. The game situation, with the Patriots leading, might have also played into that a bit. … CB Kyle Arrington played three of his 34 snaps in the second half. Assuming there was no injury, it looks like the coaches viewed his performance in the first half as one that needed improvement as Alfonzo Dennard played over him in the base defense and rookie Logan Ryan came on for him in sub. … The three-man rotation at DT continued with starters Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly being rotated out with rookie Joe Vellano the third man in. Kelly continues to come off in most pure sub packages. … DE Jake Bequette, a 2012 third-round draft choice, played his first snaps of the season. Three of his 12 snaps came at the end of the second quarter, with the final nine coming on the final drive.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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