Reasons to think the Big Nickel might return: The Pats now have multi-year investments in three safeties. The Pats didn't do much to beef up depth among LBs who are good at covering passes. To put it another way, The Pats only have 3 LBs who would be generally characterized as both playable and fast (Thomas, Mayo, Guyton). If they want speed at all positions behind a 3-man DL, some kind of nickel is needed. Tank Williams' role is essentially to play in a big nickel, unless it's for 8-in-the-box situations, and it doesn't seem like the latter will arise that much in today's NFL (short-yardage/red zone sub packages perhaps excepted). BB has always liked playing a lot of DBs.