One area that will be charted throughout the 2009 season is how often the Patriots are in their base defense vs. a sub package.
Coach Bill Belichick made the point in a SIRIUS radio interview this year that the Patriots were in sub packages more than 50 percent of the time in the 2008 season. That seemed to be a reflection of how more offenses are spreading the field, which forces the opposition to put more defensive backs on the field.
Against the Jets, however, the numbers skewed heavily toward sub packages. Of 56 snaps, the Patriots were in sub for 44 of them. The breakdown looked like this:
Five defensive backs -- 30
Six defensive backs -- 13
Base 4-3 alignment -- 11
Seven defensive backs -- 1
4-4-3 short-yardage -- 1
Some of that might have been due to the team's personnel shortage at linebacker.
In playing mostly with five defensive backs, the Patriots seemed to be using safety Brandon McGowan in a linebacker-type role at times. So while they had nickel personnel (5 defensive backs) on the field, it also had the look of a standard 4-3 at times.
Mike Reiss first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005 to 2009, he covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004. Send any questions or comments for Mike to his mailbag. Follow him on Twitter here.