Patriots: Linebacker depth reshuffled
With injuries to Jerod Mayo and Chandler Jones depleting their linebacker depth, the Patriots were forced to look for options on the trade market over the last two weeks. First Akeem Ayers arrived from Tennessee, and then Jonathan Casillas became the latest Buccaneer brought to New England. Here’s a quick look at what they have to offer the Patriots.
Last year Ayers was in coverage as often as he rushed, but for his first game in New England he was used exclusively as a pass rusher. Looking at his numbers last year it is easy to see why. He wasn’t dominant, but one sack and 32 total pressures gave him a 12.3 Pass Rushing Productivity score and a respectable +7.8 pass rush grade. However in coverage he allowed 41 of 47 targets for 385 yards, at 1.90 Yards per Cover Snap, the worst at his position last year.
Enter Casillas, who is at his best in coverage; while he’s never been a full time starting his YPCS have ranged from solid (1.02 last season) to very good (0.77 in 2012). Similar to Ayers, Casillas will probably be used in the role he’s most suited for, as a coverage specialist. With neither player being asked to do too much the opportunity is there for them to become solid part time contributors going forward.