BOSTON -- The Patriots didn't do anything well in Sunday's 34-0 loss at home to the Saints. Jalen Mills would have liked an opportunity to help.
At least, that seems to be the message that the veteran defensive back put out into the world after seeing that he had only been on the field for 10 defensive snaps in the game.
"10 snaps damn," Mills tweeted with a less-than-enthused emoji.
Indeed, just 10 snaps for Mills stands out as odd, especially with cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez, Jack Jones and Marcus Jones on injured reserve. Mills played the same number of snaps as rookie sixth-round pick Ameer Speed, 15 fewer snaps than Shaun Wade, and 26 fewer snaps than J.C. Jackson, who was acquired just days before the game. Kyle Dugger (62 snaps) and Jabrill Peppers (53 snaps) handled the bulk of the work at safety, with veteran Adrian Phillips taking just 15 snaps himself.
In 2021 and 2022, Mills never took fewer than 34 snaps in a game. But he played just nine snaps in Week 1 vs. the Eagles, 13 snaps in Week 2 vs. Miami, and 10 snaps Sunday vs. New Orleans.
Both Mills and Phillips have been largely phased out of the defense this season. Phillips hasn't said much about it, but Mills' tweet displayed a clear disconnect with the defensive coaching staff regarding playing time.
Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy has been on the field plenty this year, but when asked about Mills' potential frustration, the veteran said he's been through the same experience in New England before.
"I've been there. 2019 -- see, I remember these games. Miami game, I had 14 snaps I think. The next game, had like nine snaps. The next game, had like 10 snaps. I've been in that frustration point," Guy said. "He works hard, he works hard every single day. You ask questions in meetings, he knows that [answer]. Like, boom, he can spit it out. That's just how the dice are rolled right now. But it doesn't stop his preparation, doesn't stop his work ethic on the field, and that's kudos to him. Like, I understand certain situations are what they are. But I can tell you the grind that that man has on this field, the passion he has, is amazing. The messages he gives as a leader on the team is amazing. And like I said, if you asked him any question about the opponent, he knows everything about it. It just didn't roll that way this week."
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