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Patriots vs. Cardinals: Defensive Play Percentages

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Taking a look at playing time percentages of Patriots' defensive players from the team's 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, as charted by NFL Media relations:

Name

POS

Snaps

Play %

Devin McCourty

CB

65

100%

Jerod Mayo

LB

63

97%

Rob Ninkovich

DE

61

94%

Kyle Arrington

CB

60

92%

Pat Chung

SS

59

91%

Chandler Jones

DE

59

91%

Vince Wilfork

DT

58

89%

Steve Gregory

FS

56

86%

Kyle Love

DT

51

78%

Brandon Spikes

LB

51

78%

Dont'a Hightower

LB

42

65%

Sterling Moore

CB

31

48%

Tavon Wilson

DB

18

28%

Jermaine Cunningham

DL

15

23%

Brandon Deaderick

DL

13

20%

Ron Brace

DT

13

20%

Thoughts on the playing time percentages after the jump!

What stands out?

  • Sterling Moore took Ras-I Dowling place on the depth chart, playing 48% of the snaps as the team's fifth defensive back. Dowling didn't register a single snap. We'll see if that was a simple week-to-week change, or if Dowling actually has been passed on the depth chart.
  • One Patriots player went start-to-finish: cornerback Devin McCourty. Other players to play high snap counts (89%+) included Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich, Kyle Arrington, Patrick Chung, Chandler Jones, and Vince Wilfork. Very interesting to see Jones play such a high snap total as a rookie - after just two games, it's clear that he's going to be the type of player who plays all three downs are rarely comes off the field.
  • Brandon Spikes played a particularly high number of snaps, showing up in many of the Patriots' sub-packages. In total, Spikes played 78% of the snaps compared to Hightower's 65% - showing that Spikes has earned an opportunity to be a three down player, despite the fast development of the rookie Hightower.
  • No increase in snaps for Jermaine Cunningham - as both Chandler Jones (91%) and Rob Ninkovich (94%) were on the field for the majority of the game. Cunningham played only 15 snap (23%)s, and showed up on the box score with one tackle. Count me as someone who'd like to see Cunningham get that number up to around 50% of the snaps.
  • The Patriots only had 16 total players take snaps on defense Sunday. The five back-ups seemingly in the rotation: Sterling Moore, Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, and Tavon Wilson.