Snaps: Andre Carter steps in

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at snaps played by Patriots defenders in Sunday's 27-17 win over the Dolphins, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

CB Alfonzo Dennard -- 80-of-80

DT Chris Jones -- 80-of-80

S Devin McCourty -- 80-of-80

DE Rob Ninkovich -- 80-of-80

DE Chandler Jones -- 79-of-80

S Steve Gregory -- 73-of-80

DT Joe Vellano -- 71-of-80

LB Dont'a Hightower -- 62-of-80

LB Brandon Spikes -- 62-of-80

CB Kyle Arrington -- 52-of-80

CB Marquice Cole -- 45-of-80

CB Logan Ryan -- 31-of-80

LB Jamie Collins -- 26-of-80

LB Dane Fletcher -- 20-of-80

DE Andre Carter -- 19-of-80

S Duron Harmon -- 18-of-80

DT Marcus Forston -- 2-of-80

ANALYSIS: Veteran defensive end Andre Carter took the snaps normally played by rookie Michael Buchanan, although he was used slightly differently. In addition to coming in the 4-1-6 dime package, Carter was tapped in a 5-2-4 base defense, which appeared to be a halftime adjustment. Carter didn't show up on the stat sheet, as his snaps were split between seven in the first half and 12 in the second half. ... The primary base defense in the first half was a 4-3, with Jamie Collins at linebacker in place of the injured Jerod Mayo. Collins played 22 snaps in the first half, but with the Patriots going away from that package in the second half, he only played four snaps in the final 30 minutes. ... For the second time in three weeks, rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones played every snap. He finished with seven tackles (2 for a loss) and a sack. Hard to believe a player claimed on waivers Sept. 11 would be playing such a signifcant role, but Jones has it rolling right now. ... Linebacker Dane Fletcher saw his most extended defensive playing time as the lone pure linebacker in the 4-1-6 dime. Seemed like a good coaching wrinkle to get the speedier Fletcher on the field in that package in place of the bigger Dont'a Hightower, who is more apt to struggle playing in space. It also splits up the mental workload and gives another quality player an ownership stake with a slice of the defense. ... Hightower and Brandon Spikes stayed on the field in the 4-2-5 nickel as the two linebackers. ... In the defensive backfield, cornerback Logan Ryan didn't play a first-half snap (not including special teams) before emerging in a big way in the second half (31 snaps). Would be interesting to learn the coaching staff's mindset on that usage, which had us wondering during the game if it might have been follow-up discipline from last week's touchdown celebration that drew a $10,000 fine. ... Without Aqib Talib, the Patriots turned to Alfonzo Dennard as their top corner, working alongside Kyle Arrington, who bounced back from a tough game last week. ... Safety Steve Gregory wore the green dot on his helmet as he had the communication device to the sideline in his helmet.