Defensive snaps: Moore over Dowling

FOXBOROUGH, Mass – A look at snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team’s 20-18 loss to the Cardinals, while analyzing what it might mean:

CB Devin McCourty – 64 of 64

LB Jerod Mayo – 62 of 64

DE Rob Ninkovich – 60 of 64

CB Kyle Arrington – 59 of 64

S Patrick Chung – 58 of 64

DE Chandler Jones – 58 of 64

DT Vince Wilfork – 57 of 64

S Steve Gregory – 56 of 64

DT Kyle Love – 50 of 64

LB Brandon Spikes – 50 of 64

LB Dont’a Hightower – 41 of 64

CB Sterling Moore – 30 of 64

S Tavon Wilson – 18 of 64

DE/DT Jermaine Cunningham – 15 of 64

DT Ron Brace – 13 of 64

DE/DT Brandon Deaderick – 13 of 64

(Includes penalties.)

ANALYSIS: A change in the Patriots’ sub packages stood out, with CB Ras-I Dowling replaced by CB Sterling Moore in the nickel. One line of thinking was the that Dowling (6-1, 210) would be a good matchup against the size of Larry Fitzgerald (6-3, 218), but the Patriots had more confidence in Moore (5-10, 200) joining top cornerbacks Kyle Arrington (5-10, 195) and Devin McCourty (5-10, 195) in the sub. Arrington moved into the slot, and given the way the Cardinals moved Fitzgerald around, every cornerback matched up against him at one point or another, usually with safety help over the top. Fitzgerald finished with 1 catch for 4 yards, which meant it was a job well done by the defense. … Jermaine Cunningham’s strong season-opener didn’t earn him more time at left end in the base defense, with Rob Ninkovich holding the spot. Cunningham’s snaps came mostly as an interior rusher in the dime, outside of one series in the second quarter. … At linebacker, Dont’a Hightower and Brandon Spikes rotated alongside Jerod Mayo in the nickel. … High numbers again for rookie Chandler Jones at right defensive end, which reflects his quick rise. ... Rookie safety Tavon Wilson mostly played the money position (linebacker-type role) in the dime.