58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study

New England’s Three-Man Defensive Line Revisited: All 22 Combinations

Game-planning for a particular offense, the Patriots often placed Ninkovich and Chandler Jones at outside linebacker in a 3-4 front seven. Then, a week later, the two would be back at 4-3 defensive end for the duration, sometimes even looming in the B-gaps. But the implementation of multiple fronts hinged on more than the versatility of New England’s pass-rushers last season. At times, defensive tackles stood anywhere from the nose to the seven-technique as well.

Chris Jones, Isaac Sopoaga, Joe Vellano – 72 Snaps

  • When the Patriots made a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, it was because the team’s hybrid defense was missing a neutralizer in the middle of it. Sopoaga’s most noticeable role came as a nose tackle in the 3-4, next to Vellano and Chris Jones.

Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Chandler Jones – 44 Snaps

  • In Week 8, this group took off. And in turn, Collins and Ninkovich were designated as prominently as 3-4 rush linebackers.

Joe Vellano, Marcus Forston, Chris Jones – 26 Snaps

  • Forston provided size and in-house experience when New England shipped a young, three-defensive tackle set to the line. This grouping cast Chandler Jones and Ninkovich as outside linebackers in short-yardage circumstances in Week 6 as well as Week 7.

Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga, Joe Vellano – 18 Snaps

  • Beginning against the Texans’ zone-blocking scheme on Dec. 1, Siliga joined Chris Jones and Vellano in a three-man front for 18 plays late in the 2013 regular season. All three were the top healthy defensive tackles by the year’s conclusion.

Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Andre Carter – 16 Snaps

  • The counter-effect of this line impacted the starting defensive ends, as Chandler Jones and Ninkovich saw an uptick in snaps at the wide-nine spot.

Rob Ninkovich, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – 14 Snaps

  • Once Wilfork was out of the lineup, New England’s depth chart lacked a defensive tackle in the mold of a run-stuffer. Chris Jones helped out as a nose during the midst of the season, though, especially when the Patriots sent five defensive backs onto the field.

Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Chandler Jones – 12 snaps

  • For a dozen plays, Vellano played the zero-technique with Kelly and Chandler Jones head over the offensive tackles.

Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones – 10 Snaps

  • In the beginning of the year New England’s started logged action in a sub-package defensive scheme which treated Ninkovich as an outside linebacker. Chandler Jones, however, was right in the shadow of the offensive tackle in front of him.

Rob Ninkovich, Tommy Kelly, Chandler Jones – Seven Snaps

  • This was essentially the first version of New England’s 2013 starting D-line, only without Wilfork.

Joe Vellano, Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones – Six Snaps

  • New England illustrated a three-man line with Wilfork at nose tackle and Vellano and Chandler Jones at the five-tech spots.

Michael Buchanan, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – Four Snaps

  • A three-man look of Buchanan, Chris Jones and Chandler Jones came to fruition during four passing situations.

Joe Vellano, Andre Neblett, Marcus Forston – Three Snaps

  • Andre Neblett was signed not long after Kelly’s season drew to a close. He provided some 3-4 bulk as a nose tackle against the New York Jets, freeing Chandler Jones and Ninkovich to play in space.

Andre Carter, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – Three Snaps

  • When Carter returned to the team, the then-34-year-old added diversity to three-man fronts while Rob Ninkovich played outside linebacker and even dropped back into underneath coverage on occasion.

Chandler Jones, Isaac Sopoaga, Andre Carter – Three Snaps

  • These three played in a 3-4 against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11, as New England sought to contain quarterback Cam Newton and the multifaceted Carolina running game with the likes of Ninkovich and linebacker Dont’a Hightower on the outskirts.

Rob Ninkovich, Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones – Two Snaps

  • Much like the starting front exhibited through the first three games, minus Kelly.

Tommy Kelly, Chandler Jones, Michael Buchanan – Two Snaps

  • Chandler Jones logged a couple snaps as the nose with Kelly and Buchanan stretched beside him.

Michael Buchanan, Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones – One Snap

  • New England went with three defensive ends on a three-man prevent line to conclude the season-opener versus Buffalo.

Joe Vellano, Vince Wilfork, Michael Buchanan – One Snap

  • This three-man defensive line crew only played one snap together.

Jake Bequette, Joe Vellano, Michael Buchanan – One Snap

  • Bequette and Buchanan saw some in-game reps as seven-techniques on a three-man line late against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tommy Kelly, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – One Snap

  • While his success has come as a 4-3 under defensive tackle, Chris Jones also served as a nose and a one-technique in New England’s penetrating three-man front last year.

Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga, Andre Carter – One Snap

  • Just one play was registered with these three along the line. None of whom were on New England’s initial 53-man roster.

Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – One Snap

  • Siliga bounced out to the five-technique for one snap, adding some left-side pass rush from Chris and Chandler Jones.

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Tags: Andre Carter, Andre Neblett, Chandler Jones, Chris Jones, Dane Fletcher, Film Breakdown, Isaac Sopoaga, Jake Bequette, Jamie Collins, Joe Vellano, Marcus Forston, Michael Buchanan, Rob Ninkovich, Sealver Siliga, Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork

6 Responses to “58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study”

  1. cc says:

    Wouldn’t have this many questions OR variables if BB&CREW just pulled the trigger on Dontari Poe like they should have when they had the blatent op & need, by the way……..who & what did they take instead that’s on the chzoppin’ block??
    *Between this, the waisted time and pick of Mallet, still having Gronkinjuriski on the roster and knowing All the other glairing needz…………I expect another Division title for BB’s personal belt notch yes, another semi-luck run in the playoffs and another quick out…………sure makes me wish Brady would just get in BB’s grill a little bit and force him to beef up the roster properly so there was an actual fighting chance of a capping a SB WIN before TB12 is gone for good!

  2. Bobthebuilder says:

    Wilforks a total lock. Vet leAdership and isn’t getting cut after the contract negotiations.

  3. Stephen J says:

    Nice job Oliver.

    Do we sign Kevin Williams.

    What I like about it. Would give us a healthy reliable vet that can contribute. As well as another big body that could help with the run.

    What I don’t like about it. Its a short term replacement 1-2 yrs at the potential cost of losing a younger player like Siliga or Armstead. Armstead is exciting but all potential where Siliga seemed to be getting better with each passing week. Also like Chris Jones as a rotational guy.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Oliver Thomas, this breakdown was extrmely informative, thanks! Coming in to 2014 it’s going to come down to who makes the team and year 2 jump on the DL. I’m not going say Wilfolk and Kelly are locks at the position, kind of worried about Wilfolk he is still on the rehab field, i would like to see Siliga, Jones, Armstead, and Easley make the team along with Zach Moore.

  5. Jack says:

    Nice work! I can’t say I read through them all, but I’m looking forward even more to the combinations that Pats can put on the field this year, with Easley and hopefully Armstead contributing, and maybe even Zach Moore. One combination would have Chandler, Nink on the ends with Wilfork and Kelley in the middle, with Easley coming in for Wilfork or Kelley, or even Chandler/Nink, on passing downs. Siliga could spell in the interior on running downs. And Armstead if he pans out could come in and fill in in the interior on passing downs. And what if Zach Moore pans out? Then he could really help out spelling Nink/Jones. Once Wilfork and Kelley are done, Siliga, Easley and Armstead key the interior and Nink, Jones and Moore (hopefully) will be the mainstays on the outside.

  6. Eyeball says:

    An epic accomplishment, my man. Thank you Oliver!






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