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New England Patriots Brandon Spikes working on athleticism

New England Patriots starting middle linebacker Brandon Spikes quelled concerns about his ability to stay healthy and effective in his third season in the league, as Spikes had a good season in 2012. Spikes is a catalyst on defense who sets the tone against the run with his vicious, explosive play and is one of the best downhill run-stoppers in the NFL. However, the questions with Spikes now deal with pass coverage, as he looks a step too slow out in coverage and is a tremendous liability.

Spikes is not participating in OTAs this year, but he’s definitely not trying to unwisely leverage himself against the New England Patriots or anything. The Pats will have Spikes back for minicamp in mid-June, and Spikes just wants to work out on his own. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Brandon Spikes is working on improving his athleticism with the goal being to become a three-down linebacker in this league.

The added athleticism will help out Spikes in coverage, and he definitely needs to improve that part of his game. His issues in pass coverage are especially important for Spikes to overcome heading into the final year of his deal, since he will need to prove himself to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL in order to get paid. If he feels like working out alone on his athleticism is the best way to go, then he definitely has my respect on that front.

The Patriots will certainly benefit from a faster, more agile, and more athletic Brandon Spikes at the MLB position, because it will allow him to be less of a liability in coverage. It could put him out of the Patriots price range in free agency next year if he improves enough in coverage, but that’s something to worry about another day. On the other side of it, the added athleticism can only continue to help Spikes on run defense, and that is a scary proposition for opposing ground attacks.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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