With roster spots at a premium, it's pretty clear that ST will be the deciding factor for many players, like Bolden, Barrett, Ihedigbo, Ebner, Koutouvides, Rivera, Brown, Cole and Scott. I did a close viewing of the Saints game to see who our starting STers were, and who showed up. Kickoff... from right to left 32 McCourty 11 Edelman 59 Carpenter 43 Ebner 44 Ihedigbo 3 Gostkowski (K) 31 Brown 18 Slater 52 Fletcher 38 Bolden 24 Arrington Have to be able run, beat the blocks and make the tackle - Almost always a touchback, anyway. Kickoff Return 39 Woodhead (KR) 34 Vereen (FB) 62 Wendell (lead blocker) 50 Ninkovich (lead blocker) 59 Carpenter 90 Koutouvides 27 Wilson 87 Gronkowski 38 Bolden 44 Ihedigbo 43 Ebner Get a hat on a hat and sustain your block. Bigger bodies in this unit, less speed. - Koutouvides whiffed his man. Ebner picked him up, but got pushed back and was unable to sustain the block. That guy made the tackle on Woodhead. We should recruit that guy. - Wendell looked completely lost. He the only one not moving a million miles an hour. Punt 14 Mesko (P) 30 Barrett (Gunner) 18 Slater (Gunner) on the line... 25 Chung (HB) 34 Vereen (TE) 90 Koutouvides (OT) 45 Hightower (OG) 48 Aiken (LS) 52 Fletcher* (OG) 47 Rivera (OT) 44 Ihedigbo (TE) * after the injury Fletcher was replaced by 99 Scott Protect against the rush until the ball is off, then get downfield to make the tackle - I thought Vereen struggled against the edge rusher. On the third punt, his man got past him and (luckily?) got flagged for running into Mesko -I was a little surprised to see Aiken consistently show up downfield for the gang tackle. He was in more plays than Hightower or Koutouvides. Punt Return 11 Edelman (PR) on the line...right to left 30 Barrett (DE) 52 Fletcher* (DT) 96 Cunningham (DT) 44 Ihedigbo (LB) 90 Koutouvides (DT) 18 Slater (DE) over the gunners... 32 McCourty 23 Cole 24 Arrington 31 Brown * after the injury, Fletcher was replaced by 47 Rivera Rush the punter. Protect against the fake. Drop back and try to block for the return man. - First punt return, Cole was overaggressive and got flagged for block in the back. - btw, watching PR blocking in slow motion is a real trip. It's complete chaos with bodies flying in all directions. Roster summary Four units: 44 Ihedigbo Three units: 18 Slater, 52 Fletcher, 90 Koutouvides Two units: 11 Edelman, 24 Arrington, 30 Barrett, 31 Brown, 32 McCourty, 34 Vereen, 38 Bolden, 39 Woodhead, 43 Ebner, 47 Rivera, 59 Carpenter One unit: 3 Gostkowski, 14 Mesko, 23 Cole, 25 Chung, 27 Wilson, 45 Hightower, 48 Aiken, 50 Ninkovich, 62 Wendell, 87 Gronkowski, 96 Cunningham, 99 Scott Showed me something: - Ihedigbo is a big part of ST. I hadn't credited him for it. - Fletcher. Big loss to the kicking game. - Aiken getting downfield. I was impressed. - Gronkowski had a solid block on kickoff return. - Slater. Always around the ball on coverage. Makes Barrett, who's less consistent, look bad on the other side. - Ebner. Gets his hat in there. - Scott came in for Fletcher with the punt unit, and did a nice job keeping the runner in front of him for a gang tackle. Didn't see anything special: - Hightower. Rarely in the play. - Cole. Isn't he supposed to stand out? - Koutouvides is on three units. But he never really influenced the play, with a number of opportunities. He did run one guy out of bounds :/ Maybe it was a bad game, but I'd love to see Tarp and Rivera get more opportunities. - Bolden. No visible impact. - Vereen. Seemed at constant risk of giving up the outside rush in the punting unit.