I needed that separation,” he said. “I needed to just go see. I have to say, I was somewhat of a spoiled brat. I hadn’t lost many games since I was in high school, college. Coming here, we saw the playoffs every year, and it just made me look at things totally different, being on the outside, watching those guys.
You can clearly see me and The Hoodie kissed and made up. I’m here, that’s in the past.
I know Brandon Spikes is somewhat of a polarizing figure in Patriots Nation, mostly because of his “four years a slave” tweet after leaving New England last year. Personally I never really held it against him. New England is certainly not an easy place to play and isn’t for everyone. Spikes always struck me as a guy who would say what was on his mind, but also with a slightly off-center twist and I filed those comments as such.
What I’ve always been consistent on is that Spikes is a superlative run-stopping linebacker. I wanted to retain him last year because simply put, Spikes is better at one thing that just about anyone else on the defense.
Now I know the knocks on Spikes and he’s never going to be a third down linebacker, running with tight ends and running backs across the flat. But there are ways around that, especially if Collins and Mayo are healthy. Might he get exposed by some early down play action? Sure, but I’ll take the tradeoff for the attitude and heavy downhill play against the run that he does bring.
The Patriots defense want to be able to play any kind of game, to morph into whatever defense is necessary, and the one defense they didn’t quite have without Spikes is one that can make consistent plays in the run game behind the line of scrimmage.
I feel like I hit on these stats every week, but once again they were the worst team in the league on third or fourth down with two or less yards to go. 81 percent of the time they gave up a first down. That is a huge weakness when you realize those are blown chances to get a stop and get off the field.
Spikes instantly helps in that area and the impact will be significant.
Add in the attitude and the on-field presence Spikes bring and I can’t help but look forward to that edge returning. Ninkovich had this to say about Spikes’ trash talk:
“Clever, cruel, all of the above,” Ninkovich said. “It’s entertaining for me. I always enjoy it.”
Here’s the updated depth chart on defense as Chimdi Chekwa was released to make room for Spikes. Roster currently is at 90.