When Brandon Spikes was placed on injured reserve last week, ostensibly because of his ongoing knee problem, there was some surprise – and then it was reported that the linebacker was moved to IR more because of being late to a team meeting than because of injury or declining play.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Spikes’ late arrival during the team’s bye week was the final straw for the team, and Head Coach Bill Belichick- who had disciplines Spikes in the past.
However now, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has been told by a source close to Spikes that timekeeping was not the reason for the IR designation.
A statement quoted on NFL.com states:
“Brandon had every intention to keep playing throughout the playoffs, despite the pain he was experiencing throughout the season. We never had a single conversation with the Patriots in which they threatened to release him if he did not accept the injured reserve designation.”
While Spikes is an excellent run-stopping linebacker (ranked 6th by ProFootballFocus), he is a total liability in pass coverage, and is almost guaranteed to hit free agency this offseason. This would mean that 2013 second round pick Jamie Collins would have to perform like he did against the Colts at the weekend, while Dont’a Hightower would take over in the middle of the Patriots defence.