Spikes and Patriots' firecrackers

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss writes on Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes and how the team's defense has a different feel when he is on the field.

As defensive end Rob Ninkovich said last year, Spikes is the type of player he likes to be around on game day “because he’s so amped-up and ready to roll. His physical play is just at a higher level. He’s just very physical.”

The piece on Spikes was a result of him seeing an expanded workload at practice Tuesday, and it noted that Spikes has been like a firecracker to the D, igniting others to rise up.

It also got us thinking, "Who are some of the top 'firecracker' players from the Bill Belichick era?"

Some thoughts:

  • LB Tedy Bruschi -- Full tilt, full time. Infectious energy and overflowing passion.

  • S Rodney Harrison -- From one of his initial practices with the team, when he decked Troy Brown, it was pedal to the metal at all times.

  • S Lawyer Milloy -- Wore his football heart on his jersey sleeve; his sudden release in 2003 deflated the team in opener.

  • LB Junior Seau -- Pre-game speeches resonated with many players, especially those early in their career.

  • WR Wes Welker -- Knack for absorbing big hits and getting back up galvanizes teammates.