New England Patriots middle linebacker Brandon Spikes delivered a huge hit on the quarterback the last time the Buffalo Bills and Patriots faced off, and he could very well get a lick on Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel on Sunday. Spikes is one of the better blitzing inside linebackers that this league has to offer, but where he really makes his stamp on a football game is on run defense. There is no doubt in my mind that Brandon Spikes is one of the premier run defenders in the league, and his vicious playing style serves as a catalyst for the entire defense. Spikes helps set the tone, and the Patriots will need him and the rest of the vaunted run defense to be at their best in order to stop Bills star RB C.J. Spiller and backup Fred Jackson.
New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes (55) reacts during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Spikes is currently on the final year of his deal, and there are doubts as to whether or not he can cut the mustard as a three-down linebacker in this league due to his coverage woes. I say that I’ll definitely take the good with the bad, because his run defense and blitzing are so good that they more than make up for his lapses in coverage.
The Florida Gators product told MassLive.com’s Nick Underhill that he his motivation is not, as Asante Samuel put it, to “chase the paper”, “Not at all. My goal is to play at a high level every year. They brought me here to do a great job and that’s what I pride myself on. To get the job done and doing it well.”
I know a number of people won’t buy this quote from Brandon Spikes, but I do. I mean, Spikes comes off as an absolutely genuine person, and he isn’t wired like most people. Unlike a lot of players, Spikes has shown that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and, based on interviews I’ve read from him, he answers questions differently. Later on in the post, he implied to MassLive.com that he doesn’t think he has issues in pass coverage. I’m sure Spikes is at least somewhat motivated in getting a big contract, but I’m also willing to bet that money isn’t his biggest motivator by any means. Spikes sounds like a guy whose goal is to win championships, and I believe he said that in an interview this offseason.