Skip to content

Patriots start three new defenders, including a wide receiver

San Diego Chargers v New England Patriots Getty Images

We’ve hit December, and the Patriots aren’t even close to figuring out a consistent defensive lineup.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald points out that the Patriots started three new players out of nowhere on their defense Sunday against the Colts, including a wide receiver. That wide receiver wasn’t Julian Edelman.

Starting at safety against Indy: Nathan Jones and Matthew Slater. Jones was signed last week. Slater is a wide receiver and special teams player. He moved to safety last week. (He played safety sparingly at college at UCLA.)

The fun doesn’t stop there. The team started Niko Koutouvides at linebacker. The career special teamer hasn’t started a game on defense since 2004. He’s on his fourth team in the last five years.

While the Patriots defense gave up 21 fourth quarter points, they looked decent building up a 31-3 lead. Slater, Jones, and Koutouvides were three of the top four leading tacklers on the team.

Slater had seven tackles and forced a fumble. Koutouvides had six tackles and held up in coverage.

At some point, this all figures to catch up with the Patriots. But that point may not come until deep into January in Foxborough.

By then, perhaps Bill Belichick will have found a lineup he can stick with.

Permalink 69 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
69 Responses to “Patriots start three new defenders, including a wide receiver”
  1. trevorthej says: Dec 5, 2011 11:39 AM

    They should be fine versus the Skins this weekend.

  2. kd727 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:40 AM

    As a Buccaneers fan I can tell you Patriot fans…I am infinitely jealous of your coaching staff. Patriots staff=best staff in the league. Belichick=greatest coach of this era.

  3. war27 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:41 AM

    This all just adds up to another huge blowout in the playoffs, at home, most likely in their first game.

    Home field/home field advantage couldn’t be wasted more then this team has over the past 2 seasons in the playoffs.

    BB might be some guru but his style is growing old.

  4. skeefe1976 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:41 AM

    By then, Patrick Chung and Brandon Spikes will be back and the special teamers can go back to where they belong.

  5. jscar28 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:45 AM

    Belicheat, spygate, cheaters..Patriots are classless…there you go..carry on Haters lmao

  6. predicatepanda says: Dec 5, 2011 11:47 AM

    What a patchwork secondary. When does Belichick make the call to Hank Poteat?

  7. gopats23 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:49 AM

    This is a little scary, but I love the fact he isn’t afraid of what people think.

    The bottom line is most coaches will say I know what we are doing isn’t working, but if I do something unconventional I will get crucified.

    Belichick only cares about winning and he will keep making adjustments until he figures out the right recipe.

  8. turdfurgerson68 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM

    Wonderful story and all, but let’s return to reality here..the Patriots got lit up…LIT UP by Dan Orlovsky!

    Unless they get healthy soon; come payoff time, they gonna get toasted by their AFC playoff rivals, never mind QB’s like Brees and Rodgers.

    If the Patiots can win it all this year with the defense they have; Belichick is easily the best coach ever…easily.

  9. azusadave says: Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM

    …”they looked good building up a 31-3 lead.”

    Playing the Colts has made a lot of teams look good.

  10. nxsteven says: Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM

    45 draft picks over the past three seasons, excluding 2011.

    10 remaining, excluding 2011.

    Any other _GM_ would be long gone by now.

  11. ButkisMyDick says: Dec 5, 2011 11:52 AM

    Why is our defense such a hot mess?

  12. greenpacker says: Dec 5, 2011 11:52 AM

    Belichick is just weird. But i guess its a good weird. Lets get weird guys!

  13. akulabug says: Dec 5, 2011 11:52 AM

    Someone want to tell me Bill doesn’t need a GM or a D coordinator. Can’t even find 11 NFL quality defenders. As a Pats fan I have had just about my fill of this circus.

  14. savagenation2011 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:53 AM

    Next week, Danny Woodhead will start at middle linebacker…..

  15. flash1283 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:56 AM

    Or maybe it’s because of injuries to the regular starters. Chung at safety and Spikes at linebacker.
    They also had a practice squad guy starting at center, the fourth different person to start at that position this season due to injury.

  16. nesportsfan0428 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:56 AM

    The Patriots treated this game as a pre-season game. So it wasn’t about a consistent line-up, it was about testing new guys and role-players.

    It’s sad really; I used to look forward to the awesome Colts-Patriots games of the past.

  17. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Dec 5, 2011 12:02 PM

    More importantly Belichick has found a way for defenders to wear cool Wide Receiver numbers

  18. madtolive5 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:05 PM

    way to read into things…

    He was building depth vs the worst team in football.
    Matthew Slater will not start at Saftey again this season.

    This was treated like a preseason game on Defense to build depth, gain experience and try out new players in a real time game setting.

  19. dennis2488 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:07 PM

    belichick knew who he was playing theres a reason he was trying a bunch of new defenders and putting molden and ihedigbo in different situations.

  20. patbutler87 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:07 PM

    I’m getting so tired of these stupid gimmicks, hopefully their horrendous defense and Bill’s questionable personnel moves will come back to bite them in playoffs. The Pats can do something like this because their coach is crazy enough to, then everyone starts calling him a genius. If there’s one team that it’s frustrating to see win, this is them.

  21. tombradyallday says: Dec 5, 2011 12:08 PM

    3 words. The Patriot Way

  22. patbutler87 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:10 PM

    turdfurgerson68 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM

    Wonderful story and all, but let’s return to reality here..the Patriots got lit up…LIT UP by Dan Orlovsky!

    Unless they get healthy soon; come payoff time, they gonna get toasted by their AFC playoff rivals, never mind QB’s like Brees and Rodgers.

    If the Patiots can win it all this year with the defense they have; Belichick is easily the best coach ever…easily.
    ——————————————–

    If they win it all this year, pretty sure the credit should go to Brady and the offense.

  23. 8man says: Dec 5, 2011 12:10 PM

    It’s hard to see this team making any noise come January unless they get completely healthy on defense AND the defense plays better.

    They have been very fortunate to encounter teams who are having off years AND have lost their starting QB’s.

    If the playoffs started today, I think they’d struggle mightily against Houston and be beaten by Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

  24. wheresmyjuice says: Dec 5, 2011 12:12 PM

    I don’t care what anyone says, seeing the mad scientist at work is great fun…every single week.

    It’s particularly enjoyable as my favorite team is not in that division!

  25. thefnlimit says: Dec 5, 2011 12:14 PM

    jscar28:

    They still win. Classless? You’re an idiot. As was said, best coach and staff of this era. This patchwork job continues to put W’s on the board. Jealousy is the only reason you would make that stupid comment.

  26. lanman11 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:16 PM

    I doubt the coaching staff, scouting department, or admisistration of any other franchise has been pilfered as badly as that of the Patriots over the last decade and some how they remain extremely competitive. There has been a lot of collective effort over the years in the media and coaching ranks directed at beating them, and they even supposedly changed the defensive rules to stop these guys from winning. They still find a way. Double digit wins and a playoff spot almost every year. I don’t see how signing players off the street in December is a recipe for building future success, but I guess we’ll see soon enough.

  27. mojobag101 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:19 PM

    The NFL Gods always even the playing field……….Just imagine if Belichick could draft!!!!

  28. portnoychunk says: Dec 5, 2011 12:19 PM

    nesportsfan0428 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:56 AM

    The Patriots treated this game as a pre-season game. So it wasn’t about a consistent line-up, it was about testing new guys and role-players.

    It’s sad really; I used to look forward to the awesome Colts-Patriots games of the past.

    ^^^^^

    Precisely. Chung and Spikes will be back shortly from injury…and players like Dane Fletcher will also be thrown into the mix once healthy. This doesn’t nec. strike fear into opponents, but what it does is allow players on D to get playing experience against inferior opponents (not a knock on the Colts, but it is what it is). This allows Bill to see what works and what doesn’t, and who can do what. Building this kind of depth is tough to watch now, but down the road will be very beneficial to the team. Admittedly, if BB got some defensive studs in the draft rather than sifting through the trash, this would be unnecessary…..cutting J. Page, J. Sanders and B. Merriwether looks dumber by the day.

  29. patsfiend says: Dec 5, 2011 12:19 PM

    I think I laughed out loud when I saw Slater on the field at safety. Why not? He’s been pretty good on special teams.

    They should try Ocho at cornerback, too. Tall, fast (kind of.) He won’t catch the ball for any interceptions (we know that,) but I bet he can bat a few away.

  30. rushmatic says: Dec 5, 2011 12:20 PM

    All those backups got QUALITY reps.

    Plus, you forgot Nick McDonald, who started at Center. That’s pretty remarkable.

    In BB we trust.

  31. steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 12:21 PM

    Patriots are not scary anymore! Nobody is scared of them anymore.. Offense is good but my god I remember when patriots had a defense. Theyre terrible! Wait til playoffs when you play my team the steelers who has a good offensive & the usual best defense in the NFL. I fear for brady’s life … Green bay is the same way. No defense in the playoffs is what will do rodgers & brady both in!

  32. Yip62 says: Dec 5, 2011 12:28 PM

    Best coach and staff? Their OK, Richie Kottie could win a SB with TBrady at QB.

    But the LAST in total defense and they are the best in the league? Give me a break. They won yesterday because they played the Colts….who scored 24 pts on them.

  33. irishgary says: Dec 5, 2011 12:34 PM

    yep it will catch up with them in the playoffs, one and done.

  34. dexterismyhero says: Dec 5, 2011 12:36 PM

    @steelersownyou says:
    Dec 5, 2011 12:21 PM
    Patriots are not scary anymore! Nobody is scared of them anymore
    =================================No one is scared of your time either……….

  35. all4patriots says: Dec 5, 2011 12:39 PM

    How they do it, I’ll take it.

    11th straight winning season.

    For perspective, for those old enough to remember the 60s, 70s, and 80s, it took the Patriots franchise 27 seasons to notch its 11th winning season

    Other active current streaks of winning seasons (if this season’s records hold):

    Steelers 5 seasons
    Ravens 4
    Green Bay 3
    Jets 4
    Saints 3

    Indy – 0 (Was 9).

  36. portnoychunk says: Dec 5, 2011 12:41 PM

    steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 12:21 PM

    Patriots are not scary anymore! Nobody is scared of them anymore.. Offense is good but my god I remember when patriots had a defense. Theyre terrible! Wait til playoffs when you play my team the steelers who has a good offensive & the usual best defense in the NFL. I fear for brady’s life … Green bay is the same way. No defense in the playoffs is what will do rodgers & brady both in!

    ^^^^^^

    Any given Sunday. BB also doesn’t usually lose to the same team twice in one season….they played horrible against the Steelers in every facet of the game and were still right there at the end. As a Pats fan, I’m more concerned about Baltimore than Pittsburgh.

  37. faulkana says: Dec 5, 2011 12:43 PM

    You might score 31 points.
    We’ll score 40.
    Who wins?
    Simple math.

    GO PATS!

  38. weepingjebus says: Dec 5, 2011 12:43 PM

    Whatever else his faults, Belichick is a great improvisational coach. Most coaches have never had to cobble together a secondary on the fly, but Belichick has not only done it before, he’s won Super Bowls doing it. Be afraid.

  39. CKL says: Dec 5, 2011 12:47 PM

    portnoychunk says:
    Dec 5, 2011 12:19 PM
    …..cutting J. Page, J. Sanders and B. Merriwether looks dumber by the day.
    ________________________________
    Page and Meri cuts were fine by me. But the Sanders cut pisses me off…still. I understand that it was a lot to do with salary but in some cases I think it’s better to take a little bit of an extra hit to ensure there is at least one safety who is smart and experienced enough to help the other guys line up, etc. I know BB hated to cut him but I still don’t get why it was done and wonder if he would like to have that one back especially now.

    I watched Texans-Falcons game also and it brought a smile to my face to watch all those guys just standing around after that fumble but only SANDERS was smart and SITUATIONALLY AWARE enough to pick it up and run it back.

  40. dexterismyhero says: Dec 5, 2011 12:51 PM

    dexterismyhero says:
    Dec 5, 2011 12:36 PM
    @steelersownyou says:
    Dec 5, 2011 12:21 PM
    Patriots are not scary anymore! Nobody is scared of them anymore
    =================================No one is scared of your time either……….

    Meant team…………….

  41. dsigrey says: Dec 5, 2011 1:11 PM

    Well, they knew the Colts were going to tank the game (why else would they play soft coverage against Welker and Gronk) so why not see what they have in these players? That was a scrimmage game.

  42. chaseutley says: Dec 5, 2011 1:17 PM

    Having not seen any of the game yesterday, I was hoping to read something about Chad Ocho-nickelback.

  43. bluvayner says: Dec 5, 2011 1:27 PM

    Might be time to call back Earthwind Moreland.

    BB will turn him into a pro bowler.

  44. ampats says: Dec 5, 2011 1:27 PM

    Love all the haters one and done. 2009,the Patriots were a good team who lost their best receiver before the playoffs. There is not a Pats fan on this earth who expected the Pats to go to the game.

    2010, most pundits had this team at 8-8 with the jets winning another SB even though the season before existed only in Rex’s dreams.

    Despite injuries, the Pats keep winning and are tied with the best record in the AFC.

    steelersownyou, I as most Pats fans only hope and pray that Tom Brady gets to play the team that he OWNS. As bad as the Pats played in Pittsburgh they were still were in the game till the last snap.The Steelers could have been beaten that day and will in a rematch. The Ravens are the team that can present a problem.

    But keep hating everyone because the Pats are 9-3 and are headed back to the playoffs AGAIN!

  45. uwsptke says: Dec 5, 2011 1:35 PM

    You have to hand to Bill Belichick the Head Coach. He’s finding innovative ways to overcome the ineffectiveness of Bill Belichick the General Manager.

  46. steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 1:44 PM

    Thats cause ravens beat you every year! All I need to say is steelers to super bowl again. Just like every other year. 3 times in last 6 years while tom brady goes on vacation in punta cana. No defense no championship…THE END!

  47. steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 1:49 PM

    0-4 last 4 playoff games. Sanchez owned you in your own house! Now that’s truly embarassing!

  48. ready4doomboom says: Dec 5, 2011 2:05 PM

    For those who are complaining about this. Knock it off… The Pats are still winning. Do whatever it takes to win.

  49. 6ball says: Dec 5, 2011 2:13 PM

    .

    Getting those three a full NFL game under their belts could prove beneficial going forward. Injuries can happen anytime to anyone. How important is depth this time of year?

    .

  50. pastabelly says: Dec 5, 2011 2:23 PM

    The Patriots are still winning because they have Tom Brady. This defense is horrible and Belichick has done a terrible job drafting players on the defensive side of the ball.

    They won’t beat Baltimore or Pittsburgh with that defense.

  51. bozosforall says: Dec 5, 2011 2:34 PM

    ampats says:
    Dec 5, 2011 1:27 PM
    Love all the haters one and done. 2009,the Patriots were a good team who lost their best receiver before the playoffs. There is not a Pats fan on this earth who expected the Pats to go to the game.

    2010, most pundits had this team at 8-8 with the jets winning another SB even though the season before existed only in Rex’s dreams.

    Despite injuries, the Pats keep winning and are tied with the best record in the AFC.

    steelersownyou, I as most Pats fans only hope and pray that Tom Brady gets to play the team that he OWNS. As bad as the Pats played in Pittsburgh they were still were in the game till the last snap.The Steelers could have been beaten that day and will in a rematch. The Ravens are the team that can present a problem.

    But keep hating everyone because the Pats are 9-3 and are headed back to the playoffs AGAIN!

    __
    One and done in the playoffs once again.

    And Brady is the one who got OWNED this season by the Steelers. That without the Steelers’ top three LBs in the game. Gonna be worse for Cindy Brady next time the two teams meet.

  52. wikidpissah says: Dec 5, 2011 2:45 PM

    steelersownyou says:
    Dec 5, 2011 12:21 PM
    Patriots are not scary anymore! Nobody is scared of them anymore.. Offense is good but my god I remember when patriots had a defense. Theyre terrible! Wait til playoffs when you play my team the steelers who has a good offensive & the usual best defense in the NFL. I fear for brady’s life … Green bay is the same way. No defense in the playoffs is what will do rodgers & brady both in!
    ___________________________________
    Keep telling yourself that. Brady is 8-2 Vs the Steelers, including 2-0 in AFC Championship games, both held in Pittsburgh. Pats have the best offense and the Ravens have the best defense in the AFC (Texans are close but injuries are derailing them). The last time the Steelers beat Brady in the regular season was 2004, and you probably remember what he did to them in the playoffs.

    The last time the Steelers beat Brady in the playoffs was……. oh yeah, never.

  53. wikidpissah says: Dec 5, 2011 2:49 PM

    steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 1:49 PM

    0-4 last 4 playoff games. Sanchez owned you in your own house! Now that’s truly embarassing!

    _____________________________________
    1-3 on the last four playoff games. 0-3 in the last 3.

    2-0 in AFC Championship games with the Steelers.

    Got to love that Pittsburgh school system.

  54. j0esixpack says: Dec 5, 2011 3:02 PM

    Quality Depth is what sets the Patriots apart from other teams – such as the Colts, who have no depth.

    Part of the way you get depth is giving backups real experience – like WRs Edelman and Slater at DBs – especially against an opponent like the Colts.

    The last time the Patriots needed a WR at DB they won the Super Bowl.

    ‘Nuff said.

    (that being said, I agree with pastabelly – the Patriots D still isn’t good enough to contend with Baltimore or Pittsburgh – let alone Green Bay.)

  55. str8up12 says: Dec 5, 2011 3:08 PM

    I do believe Bill drafted the LT, LG, C, RT and signed the right guard in free agency for a 9-3 team. I do believe Bill drafted Branch, Brady, Hernandez, Gronk , traded for welker and coached up an undrafted BG-E.
    You’re all right, he’s a horrible GM. Stick to the “one and done” theme. It’s the only thing you haters have to hang on to now.

  56. turdfurgerson68 says: Dec 5, 2011 3:10 PM

    pastabelly says:
    Dec 5, 2011 2:23 PM

    The Patriots are still winning because they have Tom Brady. This defense is horrible and Belichick has done a terrible job drafting players on the defensive side of the ball.
    ————————————————–

    Well, not so terrible…see Mayo, Chung, Deadrick, plus guys like Love and Nincovich.

    I agree partly; they’ve wiffed badly when drafting DB’s.

  57. grpatriot says: Dec 5, 2011 3:59 PM

    Ahhh, I can feel the hate!

  58. steelersownyou says: Dec 5, 2011 4:09 PM

    I dont pay attention to pats playoff stats. Theyve been such a non factor for past 4 years. I just remember them getting owned by the giants in sb. Ravens & jets in playoffs. And manhandled by steelers this year!

  59. descendency says: Dec 5, 2011 4:12 PM

    Marcus Cannon and Nick McDonald also saw their first action of the year (McDonald being the guy who was signed when they cut Taylor Price).

    How this team continues to win is anyone’s guess.

  60. bozosforall says: Dec 5, 2011 4:14 PM

    str8up12 says:
    Dec 5, 2011 3:08 PM
    I do believe Bill drafted the LT, LG, C, RT and signed the right guard in free agency for a 9-3 team. I do believe Bill drafted Branch, Brady, Hernandez, Gronk , traded for welker and coached up an undrafted BG-E.
    You’re all right, he’s a horrible GM. Stick to the “one and done” theme. It’s the only thing you haters have to hang on to now.

    __
    Bill wasn’t the “GM” when most of those players were brought in, moron.

  61. j0esixpack says: Dec 5, 2011 9:49 PM

    bozosforall says: Bill wasn’t the “GM” when most of those players were brought in, moron.

    Um – you’re actually completely wrong – either that or you think Belichick reported to Pioli and not the other way around.

    Either way, I’d think twice before calling anyone a moron again if I were you.

  62. tatum064 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:07 PM

    j0esixpack says:
    Dec 5, 2011 9:49 PM
    bozosforall says: Bill wasn’t the “GM” when most of those players were brought in, moron.

    Um – you’re actually completely wrong – either that or you think Belichick reported to Pioli and not the other way around.

    Either way, I’d think twice before calling anyone a moron again if I were you.

    ============

    How many Rings did Belichick get once Pioli left?

    and there in for a rude awakening once Tebow Time arrives

  63. tatum064 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:08 PM

    nxsteven says:
    Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM
    45 draft picks over the past three seasons, excluding 2011.

    10 remaining, excluding 2011.

    Any other _GM_ would be long gone by now.

    ================

    Hate to say it, but facts are facts.

  64. tatum064 says: Dec 5, 2011 11:41 PM

    wikidpissah says:
    Dec 5, 2011 2:49 PM

    Got to love that Pittsburgh school system.

    ========================

    Ok, try this one 6 Super Bowl Championships. MORE THAN OTHER TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE.

    Anymore questions?

  65. bozosforall says: Dec 6, 2011 10:30 AM

    j0esixpack says:
    Dec 5, 2011 9:49 PM
    bozosforall says: Bill wasn’t the “GM” when most of those players were brought in, moron.

    Um – you’re actually completely wrong – either that or you think Belichick reported to Pioli and not the other way around.

    Either way, I’d think twice before calling anyone a moron again if I were you.

    ___

    Funny that now that both Pioli and Dimitroff have departed, that Bill hasn’t really won anything. So, I’ll call YOU a moron, joesuxdix, since it fits you best.

  66. thetruth1313 says: Dec 6, 2011 10:46 AM

    Actually Bozo, 99.99 % thinks you are the moron.

    That remaining .01% is your 10 other screen-names that you use to give your self a thumbs-up on your idiotic posts.

    So get back with your lame attempt of a comeback and say I dont know anything, or I am a loser Pats fan, or change my name around to something you think is witty. Cause you know, thats not old or anything

  67. patriotsfanfromindia says: Dec 6, 2011 1:20 PM

    Maybe Bill is introducing a concept from late 70′s Dutch football (Soccer to Americans) called the Total Football philosophy where except for the goalkeeper the other 10 players were trained to play any role on the field from defender to striker.

    Maybe a little tough in American Football to implement given the numerous special skill positions but if Bill succeeds with this philosophy it would be revolutionary for the sport. To start with even having 10 players with interchangeable skills means you have really have a 63 man sqaud. The sum greater than the parts.

  68. bozosforall says: Dec 6, 2011 3:06 PM

    thetruth1313 says:
    Dec 6, 2011 10:46 AM
    Actually Bozo, 99.99 % thinks you are the moron.

    That remaining .01% is your 10 other screen-names that you use to give your self a thumbs-up on your idiotic posts.

    So get back with your lame attempt of a comeback and say I dont know anything, or I am a loser Pats fan, or change my name around to something you think is witty. Cause you know, thats not old or anything

    __
    Try as you might, all your complaining about my posts amounts to is one huge WAAAAAAHHHHH!

    Further confirming that the Pats fan base that posts here is the biggest collection of whiny crybabies on the Internet. NO other fan base here cries as much as you bunch of chumps.

  69. thetruth1313 says: Dec 7, 2011 6:51 AM

    Crying? Nope- dont see any crying at all by me or any other Patriots fan. Just find it amusing that you find in necessary to comment on every Patriots blog and I recently noticed every Red Sox blog as well.

    But if thats the way you get your jollies, so be it.

    SNL recently did a skit about internet trolls and I sat there and thought- that really reminds me of someone…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!