Rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes began his second week of Patriots practice on Tuesday after serving his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Although he is expected to assume his role as the team's starting inside linebacker, head coach Bill Belichick insisted that Spikes still has a lot to prove before Sunday's game against the Jets.
"Well, it looked like he hadn’t practiced in four weeks with the team," Belichick said, "so he’s got a ways to go. in the Patriots' four practices this week. Hopefully he’ll be better this week than he was last week," Belichick said. "He should be with the extra days of practice and just getting back into it, but we’ll see how it goes."
Spikes has played a big part to the Patriots rushing defense, which will be very crucial piece to stopping the Jets rushing tandem of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. Spikes and fellow linebacker Jerrod Mayo will look to shut down the Jets rushing attack, as they did in their 45-3 victory over the Jets in Week 13.
Despite missing the team's final four games, Spikes finished fifth on the team with 71 tackles including one interception.
With the Patriots practicing four more times this week, Spikes should become more comfortable in the Patriots defense and should improve throughout the week.