Getting to know the Patriots no-name defense

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TOM HAUCK/GETTY IMAGES

Like the rest of us, you’re aware that the Patriots beat the Jets on Sunday night. But you’re also not alone if you’re still trying to figure out how.
 
Unless you had a roster sheet by your side during the game, there’s no way you knew which members of the Patriots secondary were making tackles.
 
The following names are members of the Patriots’ defense from Sunday’s win: Jeff Tarpinian, Tracy White, James Ihedigbo, Antwaun Molden, Phillip Adams and Sterling Moore.
 
Not exactly an All-Pro cast back there. But it didn’t matter. Players stepped up when called upon.
 
“I think they all did a good job — not that we didn’t have some breakdowns,” Pats coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. “It wasn’t perfect, I’m not saying that, but overall Tracy [White] and Jeff [Tarpinian] both did a good job with taking advantage of their playing time opportunities and making some plays and doing the right thing.”
 
Tarpinian and White stepped in for injured Brandon Spikes. It was Tarpinian’s first game on defense, ditto for safety Sterling Moore.
 
“What happens when the lights go on, you never really know for sure,” Belichick said. “You have to wait and see that … Those guys have practiced a lot and they’ve certainly gotten a lot of reps in practice, so you can start to evaluate how they perform in practice, but that’s not the same as games.”
 
But, according to Belichick, performance in practice doesn’t necessarily translate over to the game, and vice versa.
 
“There are players that are better practice players than they are game players and there’re other players that are better — they don’t look so good in practice and then, in the game, it’s a different story, or it’s better, let’s put it that way. I learned that lesson early. “



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