Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, as well as Nate Solder and Brandon Spikes, are having nice seasons for the Patriots.
While Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Solder and Brandon Spikes are all enjoying successful seasons, there's a good chance none of them will get Pro-Bowl nods.
Chandler Jones, Defensive End
First, Chandler Jones is worthy of some rookie accolades. The first-rounder has 34 tackles, three forced fumbles and six sacks this year. With tremendous range and quickness, Jones looks like a cornerstone of the defense for years to come. However, he has missed the last two contests with an ankle injury and ranks outside the league's top 30 in sacks, per ESPN.com.
Rob Ninkovich, Defensive End
As for Rob Ninkovich, it's not a matter of missed games. It's simply the fact that he's flown under the radar his entire NFL career. He's made 43 tackles, forced five fumbles and registered six sacks. But it's hard to say Ninkovich is more deserving than someone like the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt or the Miami Dolphins' Cameron Wake.
Nate Solder, Left Tackle
Former first-round draft choice Nate Solder has been as good as advertised for the Patriots on the blindside of Tom Brady.
On Nov. 7, Brady spoke with ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates about Solder:
"Nate played a lot last year too, and he's been very reliable and dependable really since the day he got here," quarterback Tom Brady said Wednesday. "He's very mature. I think he's really asserted himself as a very good player. That's a tough position to play. You get the best of your opponent every single week, and he's never really backed down to a challenge. There's a lot of comfort there."
If Brady is happy with the protection from Solder, then odds are offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is content as well. Neither could have asked for much more from the second-year pro who had to replace longtime Patriot Matt Light.
Brandon Spikes, Inside Linebacker
And last but not least, there's the polarizing Brandon Spikes. Spikes is finally playing at the level the Patriots had hoped for when he was selected in the Round 2 of the 2010 draft. On the year, Spikes hasn't many friends across the line of scrimmage. However, his "punk" mentality has made him a force to be reckoned with. Spikes has totaled 85 tackles, five forced fumbles and a sack.