Fletcher likely to fill in for Pats LB Spikes

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm •  Published: January 7, 2014
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The mantra of the New England Patriots when a player gets injured is "next man up."

This week that man will be backup linebacker Dane Fletcher.

With Brandon Spikes joining three key defenders on injured reserve with a knee injury, Fletcher is likely to see a lot more action when the Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC divisional-playoff game Saturday night.

"Everybody has to step up," Fletcher said Tuesday. "Everybody's role kind of increases on defense, especially in the linebacker unit."

Spikes, an outstanding run stopper in his fourth season, was placed on injured reserve Monday.

That left the Patriots with six linebackers on their 53-man roster, including rookie free agent Ja'Gared Davis, who was signed off the practice squad Tuesday. Two others have played very little on defense. Rookie Steve Beauharnais has one tackle in two games and Chris White has one defensive tackle while being used mostly on special teams.

The remaining starters are Don't'a Hightower and rookie Jamie Collins, a first-round draft choice.

Fletcher, a better pass defender than Spikes, has averaged just 14 defensive snaps in the 15 games he's played, starting just one. He played more than half the snaps only once, against Denver and Peyton Manning.

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