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Meriweather led the defense in snaps last season but played fewer than James Sanders in game 1. Before the game, Reiss had mentioned something about how he felt the Pats wanted more out of him and were sending him a message.
Myron Pryor got lots of playing time, and seems to be a solid part of the DL rotation.
Brace also got in some snaps, and didn't look out of place. Hopefully he continues to improve and helps fill Ty Warren's spot.
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why did Sanders see so much action? Is there any reason that Meriweather would be being eased back onto the field?
The difference in the number of snaps the two played was one. Meriweather was on the field for 61 out of 78 snaps; I'm not sure I would characterize that as being 'eased back onto the field'.
There were an average of 2.58 safeties on the field per play, as ctpatsfan77 pointed out. That means all three had to get a lot of snaps. Chung was out there for 74 out of 78 plays, Sanders for 62 and Meriweather for 61. So we're looking at about ten or so snaps that could be taken away from Sanders and given to Meriweather. I don't think that's all that many snaps to be concerned with.
Interestingly, five players (Mayo, Banta-Cain, McCourty, Butler, Chung) played 95% or more of the snaps.
The base defense worked out to an average of:
0.01 Randy Moss
In a copycat league, expect to see lots of teams running the 2.3-3.4 defense soon.
If 5 defensive backs are a nickel and 6 a dime, I guess the Pats were running a 7-cent backfield with 5.3 DB's. Lira back defense? Ruble-back?
As we discussed in some of the post-game threads, that certainly solved the lack of depth at LB. Too bad McGowan went down, but Chung clearly emerged. Keeping Chung, Meriweather, and Sanders on the field together is probably an effective way of getting the top 11 defenders on the field, and plays into the move toward a spread offense.
Those numbers do point out that, in 26 snaps, Jermaine Cunningham was nearly invisible and free of all stats, while Ninkovich/Murrell were nearly so in 35 snaps.
If Murrell dropped from starting the first pre-season game to 7 snaps, that sure explains the decision to drop him. The corollary to that is that if TBC misses a game, the team is in a real bind.
Fascinating stuff - I look forward to the Reiss breakdowns.
"Your father was a truck driver, Ray?"