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Patriots Re-Sign CB Marquice Cole, LB Niko Koutouvides

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The special teams get a boost and defensive depth is addressed after the Patriots bring back two versatile pieces from their semi-successful 2011 campaign.

USA TODAY Sports

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and the ability to play special teams if you're a rostered New England Patriot.

The Patriots elected to bring back two of their unsung heroes in the all-important third phase of the game in CB Marquice Cole and LB Niko Koutouvides.

Cole, 29, ended up playing significant time in the slot towards the end of the season after he was brought in primarily to offer quality depth in the secondary. Before signing a one-year deal with the Patriots exactly a year ago, Cole spent two years on the New York Jets as a gunner on special teams and as a defensive back in a reserve role.

Koutouvides, 31, appeared in 14 games for the Patriots in 2012, recording four tackles. While Koutouvides did offer some insurance for a linebacking corps that stayed surprisingly healthy during the season, his main value to the Patriots lied in his coverage abilities on special teams. Koutouvides was an integral 'core four' player, meaning he routinely appeared on the team's kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return and punt coverage units.