Given that background, it’s notable from this perspective that Spikes hasn’t been seen much at Gillette Stadium since the offseason program began in mid-April. Staying away is within Spikes’ rights, and there have been productive players in past years (e.g. Mike Vrabel) who have taken the same approach at times. So one of the first things I’ll be looking at Tuesday is if Spikes is present, and if he is, if there is any noticeable difference in his physical condition and how he is being employed.
My take on Spikes is that there are other contractual issues that would jump ahead of it, and I’d personally let at least half the year play out before exploring it. The reason is that I’d want more information (i.e. Is he healthy? Are his skills improving?) before committing significant future dollars to him. I also consider this: When the Patriots traded up in the first round to select Hightower in 2012, they didn’t do it because they viewed him as a two-down player. He should be on the field on third down based on where he was selected. I think he will be and it’s just finding the role that maximizes his talent. On the coverage linebacker on the whole, I think it’s one of those things that would be nice to have but it’s not mandatory. Similar to you, I like the idea of them playing more dime with either Wilson (Adrian, Tavon) in a linebacker-type role this season. The hope is that you’re strong enough against the run in doing so and don’t get run over like the Bills did when they played almost exclusively a dime package in the first meeting versus the Patriots last year.
Spiller stumbled at about the 2-yard line before he met Brandon Spikes, who came flying in from his linebacker spot. Spikes not only knocked Spiller sideways, he jarred the ball loose. It was picked up by Wilfork, who rumbled a couple of yards in the other direction before being brought down. While there wasn’t enough time at the end of the first half for the Patriots to do anything about it, the fact that New England was able to keep Buffalo out of the end zone at the end of the first half proved to be a big momentum shift in the game.
This is one of the most interesting things to monitor for next season. Pats were able to go lighter up front on the defensive line because of the physicality of their linebackers. Our biggest question in regards to this shift was could they still stop the run. Well, they had their best run stopping year in recent memory, but it was rather the short passes to the middle of the field that killed them.
The 4-3 base needs to be re-evaluated I think, and I’ll be doing so in my Friday B/R column.
Brandon Spikes mostly stayed on over Dont’a Hightower as the second sub linebacker alongside Jerod Mayo, and the Ravens attacked him with success with tight end Dennis Pitta. It’s one game, but this could raise questions this offseason if Spikes will continue to play in the sub going forward or if he’ll return to more of a base-defense only type of role.
Brandon Spikes: Our Ball GIF
A crazed dog just looking to seek, destroy, kill anything that moves,” Spikes described. “If you’re not in that red, blue and white, I don’t know what to say. I’m trying to destroy you any way I can, any chance I get. Any edge I can get to beat you on that play, I’m going to do it. I feel like I leave it all out there on the field. I feel like my teammates know I leave it all out, and they respect that. A lot of people respect that.
It feels like I put the uniform on, kind of like Superman, I transform,” Spikes said while getting proudly animated. “It’s the craziest thing ever. Before the game, I’m chilling. Then I put the uniform on and it’s like I’m a gladiator going into an arena. I’m ready to compete. I would die out there on the field if that’s what it is because I’m going to leave it all out there. The game has done so much for me, so much for my family, that I can’t cheat the game.
He’s so big, and he plays heavy, but he’s also fast,” Foster said. “He can play sideline to sideline. He comes downhill. He can head-butt guards like it’s nothing. Watching him on film, he’s just so strong. He’s disciplined, and he plays his gaps well. He’s a good pass rusher, and he’s really a Pro Bowl-caliber player, in my opinion. He’ll start getting more and more notoriety for his play, but I’ve always seen it in him. He’s a great player, a fun player to watch.