, Salem, MA


February 2, 2012

A look at key New England Patriots


Best and most accomplished of Patriots' LBs, has had some health issues hold him back ... First-round pick in 2008, won Defensive Rookie of the Year that season ... Has had more than 100 tackles every year, including 103 in 2011 ... Already has team-high 21 tackles in postseason.

Brandon Spikes, OLB (55), 6-2, 250, 2nd season, Florida

Considered too slow to play the position by many coming out of draft, but has proven himself in New England ... Got healthy in time for final regular-season game after being idled for seven weeks, and had only Patriots takeaway in AFC title game, a fourth-quarter interception ... Second-round pick in 2010.

Devin McCourty, LCB (32), 5-10, 193, 2nd season, Rutgers

Slumped from great rookie season, when he made Pro Bowl ... Is aggressive in coverage, but can be beaten deep ... Went from seven interceptions as rookie to two in 2011 ... Has made 12 tackles in postseason, will probably change to make a few more covering Nicks, Cruz and Manningham.

Kyle Arrington, RCB (24), 5-9, 196, 3rd season, Hofstra

Tied for NFL lead with seven picks, one against Giants ... Very aggressive, will challenge receivers, go after the ball ... Sometimes gambles too much ... Could have trouble with taller wideouts, but uses body leverage and jumping ability to negate that ... School dropped football soon after he left.

Patrick Chung, LS (25), 5-11, 212, 3rd season, Oregon

Returned from injury just before playoffs, adding physical dimension to secondary ... Hardest hitter of the DBs ... Could see a lot of Ballard, but also might wind up on a WR at times ... Can blitz with nice burst to QB ... Had 67 tackles this season, but just one INT.

James Ihedigbo, RS (44), 6-1, 214, 5th season, Massachusetts

Another former Jet finding success in New England ... Hits hard, not great in coverage ... Also has played on kick coverages ... Made 72 tackles during season.



Stephen Gostkowski, PK (3), 6-1, 215, 6th season, Memphis

Has no championship rings, but has not allowed dropoff from Adam Vinatieri over the years ... Regular season field goal percentage (.844) is better than Vinatieri's (.819) ... Kickoffs usually soar through end zone ... Pats unafraid to ask him to make clutch kicks, scored 143 points, made 28 of 33 field goals during season.

Zoltan Mesko, P (14), 6-5, 231, 2nd season, Michigan

Lefty whose kicks sometimes confound returners ... Has strong leg and led AFC in net average with 46.5 per kick ... Native of Romania, where he played soccer ... Came to United State in 1997 at age 11.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

  • 140730_SN_PBI_GRANPRIX_060 Gran Prix of Beverly thrills crowd with speed, excitement

    BEVERLY -- Cyclists love the short, fast course with demanding corners at the Fidelity Investment Gran Prix of Beverly. The sixth annual event started and ended on Cabot Street with a loop around the Beverly common. Last night a large crowd gathered

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • leimug DiLisio finishes 5th at Mass. Junior Amateur After two complete rounds in the 96th Massachusetts Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship, Steven DiLisio was staying focused. Despite trailing the two-round leader by eight shots, DiLisio believed there would be an opening to make a run at th

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local sports schedule TODAY'S SPORTS SUMMER BASEBALL Futures Collegiate Baseball League - Nashua at North Shore Navigators (7). North Shore Baseball League - Peabody Champions at Newburyport Nationals (6). TOMORROW SUMMER BASEBALL Futures Collegiate Baseball League - Old

    July 31, 2014

  • Antonelli pic 10 [Duplicate] Prep great Antonelli to coach baseball at Holy Cross Matt Antonelli has never strayed very far from the baseball diamond, and after getting his feet wet in the coaching profession last year he's decided to jump in with both cleats. One of the best ballplayers ever out of St. John's Prep, Antonelli has

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • salemstate1 SSU partners with Team Impact to 'recruit' Wilcox The Salem State University women's basketball team announced its newest recruit last week ... and she won't be old enough to attend college for another five years. Breana Wilcox, a 13-year-old from Salem who attends the Collins Middle School, was wel

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo