Does Spikes’ Absence Affect His Future In NE?
New England Patriots’ linebacker Brandon Spikes has decided to skip the voluntary OTA’s this offseason in favor of working out in isolation away from the team, and hasn’t been to Gillette Stadium since the Pats’ offseason program began on April 15th , though he’s expected to show up for minicamp in June (per NESN).
Spikes’ absence has nothing to do with this being a contract year for the now fourth-year vet (per NESN), though Spikes is taking a risk by not showing up due to the competition for his job right now.
The Patriots drafted linebacker Jamie Collins because of the team’s lack of linebackers who can provide a consistent pass rush as well as having an ability to cover running backs and tight ends (the Patriots ranked dead last against running backs and tight ends receiving last season), as you could argue that Jerod Mayo is the only complete, every-package linebacker that the team has, though Dont’a Hightower did improve his pass coverage abilities over the course of last season.
Spikes played a large role in stopping running plays last season, making some of the most impressive hits of anyone on the defense while he was at it, but on passing plays, Spikes often appeared to turn into a statue, and that’s something that Jamie Collins has as a great advantage over Spikes, considering that Collins is a former safety, before adding muscle mass and moving to linebacker.
This leaves you to ask the question: why would Spikes not show up to OTAs, considering the competition at linebacker that’s sure to ensue during the offseason and preseason? Collins clearly has a higher ceiling than Spikes due to his superior pass coverage skills, though Spike’s veteran presence is something that Bill Belichick will certainly look at when determining which of the two will be the third linebacker in the Patriots’ 4-3 defensive scheme.
Spikes’ absence grows all the more interesting when you consider that his twitter account, which was once full of controversial tweets, whose topics ranged from homosexuality to giving cocaine to Santa Claus, hasn’t tweeted anything since February, 28. The last tweet from Spikes read “TRANSFORMATION”, which may have something to do with his absence.
Regardless of Spikes’ reasoning behind the no-show, the fact that he hasn’t shown up can’t be helping him continue to grow as a leader on the defense, nor can it be helping him in his positional battle with Hightower and Collins. In a contract year, you’d typically expect a player to show up to as many team activities as possible, though Spikes seems to think that having his own solitary workouts will help him more.
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