New England’s Six-Man Defensive Line Revisited: All Four Combinations
New England implemented a six-man defensive line for short-yardage running situations during the 2013 regular season. And in the efforts to do so despite depth and injury limitations, four different groupings were deployed.
Rob Ninkovich, Jake Bequette, Chris Jones, Dane Fletcher, Joe Vellano, Chandler Jones – Three Snaps
- After Kelly departed with a knee injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5, the Patriots got defensive line assistance from fourth linebacker Dane Fletcher and reserve defensive end Jake Bequette.
Rob Ninkovich, Joe Vellano, Isaac Sopoaga, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – Two Snaps
- Sopoaga and Siliga added mass to the run defense down at the goal line, swapping a linebacker and third defensive end out of the equation.
Rob Ninkovich, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, Andre Carter, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – Two Snaps
- New England went back to using three defensive ends on the six-man line. Andre Carter partook in two plays, wedged between Siliga and Chris Jones.
Rob Ninkovich, Joe Vellano, Dane Fletcher, Marcus Forston, Chris Jones, Chandler Jones – One Snap
- Forston and Fletcher were once at the center of the goal-line front, making it an even 10 participants through the season’s 16 games.
And in many ways, the Patriots needed each one.