FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the New England Patriots' defensive breakdown between their sub and base packages. This can highlight player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of each game.
Last Sunday against the Dolphins, the Patriots played more base defense than the norm. Up until the final two series, the D called on its base (33) more than the sub (28). But the final numbers were skewed a bit by the Patriots playing sub on the final two series.
Overall, here are the numbers for the season (includes penalties):
Sub defense: 393 of 592 snaps
Base defense: 187 of 592 snaps
Short-yardage: 12 of 592 snaps
One thought on why the Patriots played more base defense against the Dolphins was to keep some of their bigger players on the field to account for run defense, which has been a bit shaky since Vince Wilfork was lost to a season-ending injury on Sept. 29. This is where the acquisition of veteran nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga could potentially help the Patriots as that's the package he projects to be part of; he was in Philadelphia, where he played 39 percent of the snaps.
As the numbers above show, if Sopoaga only plays in the base defense (and short-yardage), he'd be a 33-percent playtime option if the current numbers hold.