NASHVILLE -- Bill Belichick said this offseason that the Patriots aren't in their base defense as much as they used to be, which highlighted the importance of subpackages (more than 4 defensive backs) and players who can play in space. That trend continued in the season opener Sunday at LP Field.
We'll continue to chart the base vs. sub defense all year to see if this trend sticks. In 2011, the Patriots were in sub 63 percent of the time.
Sub: 42 of 65
Base: 21 of 65
Short-yardage: 2 of 65
The Patriots played two different subpackages on Sunday -- a nickel with cornerback Ras-I Dowling replacing either linebacker Dont'a Hightower or linebacker Brandon Spikes, and a dime with Dowling and safety Tavon Wilson replacing Spikes and Hightower.