Patriots rookie report: Week 11

Posted Nov. 23, 2010 @ 7 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a look at how the Patriots' first-year players are faring through 10 games:

CB Devin McCourty (first round): McCourty hauled in his third interception, picking off a Peyton Manning errant throw. It was right to McCourty, but he had to leap and keep his feet in-bounds for the pick. He added six tackles and another pass defensed and got lots of praise from head coach Bill Belichick, who said, "You wouldn't know he's a rookie."

TE Rob Gronkowski (second round): Gronkowski didn't match his career game against the Steelers, catching just one ball for 25 yards in the win over the Colts. Gronkowski is seeing his snap count go up because of his run-blocking skills.

OLB Jermaine Cunningham (second round): The former Gator gets the credit for rushing Manning on his last throw that landed in the hands of Patriots S James Sanders, sealing the win for the Pats. Cunningham rushed off the edge and appeared to get a touch of Manning on the throw. He finished the game with three tackles.

ILB Brandon Spikes (second round): With the Patriots mainly playing in a nickel defense, Spikes rarely saw the field, deferring to LB Gary Guyton, who is better at covering tight ends. Spikes totaled two tackles.

TE Aaron Hernandez (fourth round): The Patriots' leading receiver through Week Nine continues to see his snaps decrease, but he did bring in his third touchdown on the year on an eight-yard slant, his only catch of the day. When the Patriots want to run the ball, Gronkowski and Crumpler get the call, but it is surprising Hernandez hasn't been used lately out of the slot.

P Zoltan Mesko (fifth round): Mesko had three punts for 132 yards, a 44-yard average and a net average of 43.7. He dropped one punt inside the 20. There were only two punt returns for a total of one yard.

DE Brandon Deaderick (seventh round): The Alabama alum saw some increased playing time as the game went along but did not make it to the stats sheet. Expect to see a lot of Deaderick in Week 13 against the Jets and their potent running game.

LB Dane Fletcher (undrafted free agent): The special-teams ace had two tackles on kick coverage. He has not been playing on defense like he did earlier in the season.

Notes: DL Kyle Love (UFA) was active but did not record a tackle ... WR Taylor Price (third round) was inactive.