OLBs as DEs in sub package

With the Patriots playing more sub packages the last two weeks -- employing more packages with five and six defensive backs -- it has tapped into the versatility of their outside linebackers and brought those players back to their college roots.

Jermaine Cunningham (Florida), Rob Ninkovich (Purdue) and Tully Banta-Cain (California) all played 4-3 defensive end in college, but with the Patriots, they have transitioned to standup outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment.

Yet in the sub package the last two weeks, the Patriots have had a package with a four-man line with Cunningham, Ninkovich and Banta-Cain playing in a three-point stance as a defensive end, just like their college days.

A look at the breakdown against the Lions:

Sub: 62 of 77

Base: 13 of 77

Short-yardage: 2 of 77

As for the season, the Patriots have been in the sub more than the base. The breakdown (includes 2-point conversions and some penalties):

Sub defense: 436 of 782 (55.7 percent)

Base defense: 319 of 782 (40.7 percent)

Short yardage: 27 of 782 (3.4 percent)

Against the Jets in Week 2, the Patriots were in the base 45 of 68 snaps, with the sub (22) and short-yardage (1) the secondary options.