One under-the-radar takeaway from the game yesterday was the extreme and somewhat sad fall of Gary Guyton and Sergio Brown. Guyton was once seen as a physical specimen who could cover and Brown showed flashes last year and kept getting better, according to Coach Bill. Unfortunately, the tables seem to have turned for both. It's not like this is a surprise, given the abysmal play of both this year, but it does serve to show that poor play on this team will leave you in the doghouse quickly on this team, and it's terrifyingly hard to get out. It's not like James Sanders was out there playing above Brown or Fletcher above Guyton - we are talking about Sterling Moore and Ross Ventrone playing safety over Brown and Tarpinian, White (and I'm guessing Koutouvides) above Guyton. What?
And yes, Guyton has been hurt, but this was a coaching decision - According to ESPN, "Even with a shortage of linebackers, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hinted that Gary Guyton's lack of playing time Sunday was due in larger part to a coach's decision than the shoulder injury that left him questionable for the game after three days of limited activity last week. 'The players that were active for the game, were active for the game,' said Belichick. 'The players that weren't active either weren't active because of injuries or because of coaching decisions.... Somebody that was active for the game, was able to play. Yeah, he missed some time this week in practice -- that was a concern going into the game -- but he was active for the game.'"
Translation, he's in the doghouse. It's not really surprising given he has been terrible against both the pass and the run. Sure, his injury didn't help and maybe I'm overreacting here, but I think it's safe to say that Tarpinian and White (especially White)'s impressive performance last night has dropped Gary Guyton below Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White and Jeff Tarpinian on the depth chart. We don't really know about Koutouvides but Guyton is now the 7th or 8th option at linebacker for the New England Patriots. I think it's safe to say Gary might be done in New England after this season, and it's quite possible that as Brandon and Dane get healthy, Gary might have played his last meaningful snaps here. It could just all be injury and this whole FanPost ends up being a joke, but that's my impression after Bill's comments.
Sergio, on the other hand...probably the same deal outside of his special teams value. I don't think anyone forgets his Giants performance, so at this point it wasn't surprising to see Ventrone and Moore out there as the NFL's most hilarious safety combo for a few plays while Brown sat on the pine. Bill makes a lot of great judgments, so far Sergio over Sanders has been one of the more questionable ones.
It'll definitely be interesting to track both of these situations - guys who have been regarded as key backups who could start and play in a pinch and now have fallen to the complete bottom of the depth chart. Moore proof that Bill doesn't care about names, he just wants production and effort and can coach anyone up who doesn't make mental mistakes and plays tough.