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Brandon Spikes skipping OTAs in hopes of becoming a three-down linebacker

Brandon Spikes AP

Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has not been a participant at Patriots OTAs this spring, but it isn’t because he’s unhappy with his contract for the 2013 season.

It’s because he wants to set himself up for a bigger contract for the 2014 season. Spikes is in the final year of his contract and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that he is training in Florida in hopes of proving to the league that he can be a three-down linebacker.

Spikes has been viewed as a top run-stopper during his pro career, but hasn’t drawn too much praise for other aspects of his game. Pete Bommarito, Spikes’ trainer, explained the kind of work they’re doing to put Spikes in position to be seen differently just in time for teams to bid on him as a free agent.

“It’s basically strength and conditioning work,” Bommarito said. “Just speed work, conditioning, that kind of stuff that we know he responds to. Just trying to basically build and work on overall athleticism. With him, it’s not really anything that’s truly position-specific or sport-specific. The majority of it is just speed, overall joint alignment, making sure he’s as healthy as possible, as lean as possible and as strong as possible.”

It can be tough to shed labels earned over several years, especially when you play on a defense like the one in New England. There are a slew of different players with different skills vying for roles in the Patriots’ front seven and chances are that the team is going to mix and match personnel based on different situations. Spikes will certainly be part of that mix, but a three-down role may not be there for the taking.

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22 Responses to “Brandon Spikes skipping OTAs in hopes of becoming a three-down linebacker”
  1. dartmouthstevens says: May 31, 2013 10:24 AM

    What coach is not going to like, “I worked on my weak area over the offseason.” Skipping the OTAs is a little questionable, but if he was okayed by the coaching staff, then it is not ours to question.

  2. hookem6903 says: May 31, 2013 10:34 AM

    Skipping Belichick’s organized team activities in an effort to get MORE playing time. Makes perfect sense.

  3. homelanddefense says: May 31, 2013 10:38 AM

    so he thinks skipping OTAs is going to get him more playing time from BB? Clearly this guy hasnt been paying attention to the way things are done in Foxboro.

  4. ampats says: May 31, 2013 10:42 AM

    Spikes is cementing his exit out of New England. He is a thumper against the run but is terrible in pass coverage. And he is bound to land in Bill’s doghouse as the only player not participating at OTA’s.

  5. ItIsWhatitis says: May 31, 2013 10:51 AM

    Love this guy Spikes. Hope he stays in NE for a long time.

  6. CKL says: May 31, 2013 11:02 AM

    I’m never glad someone is missing OTAs but if this works, then all is forgiven. Spikes brings the type of nasty to the D that all great defenses need. He makes occasional great plays in the passing game, but if he improves his reaction times, he just might make good on a bigger role.

  7. tigerlilac says: May 31, 2013 11:04 AM

    Spikes adds a toughness to the Patriots defense that is essential to a team with SB aspirations. Alas, skipping OTAs and doing everything to set himself for free agency does not jive with being the team player Belichick insists players be. He needs to get on the field to prove his value. I doubt this route will get him on the field for a three-down role.

  8. joesaracer says: May 31, 2013 11:05 AM

    He’s slow but effective.

    If he becomes quick and effective: Watch out.

  9. maximusprime107 says: May 31, 2013 11:10 AM

    Can’t teach speed

  10. FinFan68 says: May 31, 2013 11:32 AM

    This is dumb. He is staying away from his team and practice in order to get better? And… It is important to him now since it is a contract year. This is an example of someone you want to get rid of, not keep

  11. nxsteven says: May 31, 2013 11:48 AM

    Spikes is a great example of a good football player but not a game changer. Just like the rest of New England’s defense with the exception of Wilfork.

    That’s what happens when you try to trade down for “value.”

  12. jimmyt says: May 31, 2013 11:49 AM

    Oooh, how dare he skip the OTA’s of the evil genius, greatest coach ever, classiest organization ever bla, bla, bla!!! Pfft!!! He probably wants a trade off that sinking ship of cheaters and away from their doting, uninformed fan base.

  13. d0minate says: May 31, 2013 11:55 AM

    Where are you more likely to be drug tested? Team facilities, or some random gym…

  14. rc33 says: May 31, 2013 12:17 PM

    I like Spikes as a player. Plays downhill, occasionally completely blowing up run plays, and he’s tough and physical. That said, his forty time was more like that of a Defensive Lineman’s when he came out; he was fortunate to even go in the 2nd round.
    Bottom line is in terms of foot speed and instincts, at this moment, he’s just not a DC’s best option on a passing down and it’s highly unlikely Belichick will use him that way.
    I think N.E.’s already in the process of moving on from Spikes as it is, with Hightower playing the middle next year, Mayo and Jamie Collins on the outside.

  15. flash1283 says: May 31, 2013 12:49 PM

    jimmyt = Sj39, This coming from a Rams fan. That would explain it.

  16. marima07 says: May 31, 2013 1:20 PM

    Spikes worked with the same trainer last year and only got better.

    If he hits minicamp as hard as he hit Jake Ballard, everyone’s happy.

  17. harrisonhits2 says: May 31, 2013 1:45 PM

    A mediocre player who makes stupid penalties at times. He’s also more concerned with making the big hit to get himself on NFLN and bspn highlights as opposed to wrapping up a target and actually tackling him.

    If he’s not cut before the end of the year I doubt the Pats will re-sign him.

  18. japmen says: May 31, 2013 2:03 PM

    I hope he does get better because Bill wont pay to keep him.

  19. shermanmattj says: May 31, 2013 2:42 PM

    It’s called OTA’s for a reason!

  20. tedmurph says: May 31, 2013 2:48 PM

    All well and good he’s tried to work on his deficiencies. Problem is, since Parcells days, optional doesn’t mean optional if you want to be a big part of this team, or if you want to show you’re worth the investment of that 1rst big contract. Whatever the training regimen is, I would think Spikes could show up for ten practices between 5/20 and 6/7. Pats drafted JCollins, so they could move Hightower to the middle. If Spikes wants to get on the field more to show the Pats or other teams he’s worth it, this isn’t the way to do it.

    Ty Law and MVrabel earned the right to do it their way, Spikes hasn’t yet.

    Still you gotta love those big hits and forced fumbles.

  21. jrcoop says: May 31, 2013 3:15 PM

    Granted he’s an experienced veteran, and there probably aren’t going to be a lot of new wrinkles in the D he would need to learn. However, this stategy seems counter intuitive to achieve his stated objective… “to put Spikes in position to be seen differently just in time for teams to bid on him as a free agent.”

    One would have to assume he got the OK from BB, wouldn’t one?

  22. gisellichek says: Jun 5, 2013 1:25 PM

    so … here is how I look at this…

    Spikes: I want a contract extension.
    BB: No , you are a situational defensive player and the money you are asking for is ridiuculous!
    Spikes: I can play three downs…
    BB: No you can’t … you are terrible in pass coverage.
    Spikes: %#@!%!@ %@ BB, oh and i won’t be at OTAs this season… I am playing out my last season in Foxboro and getting ready for free agency!!!

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