FOXBORO, Mass. — Jalen Mills pulled a big Patriots no-on Wednesday, using social media to vent frustration about playing time.

Bill Belichick surely isn’t happy about it. But Mills’ teammates defended the veteran defensive back when asked about the situation Thursday morning.

“I’ve been there,” defensive tackle Lawrence Guy said. “Twenty-nineteen … Miami game, I had 14 snaps I think. The next game, I had like nine snaps. Next game, I had 10 snaps. I’ve been in that frustration part. … He works hard. He works hard every single day. He understands. You ask questions in a meeting, he knows that meeting. He knows the answer. He’s like, ‘boom’ — he can spit it out. It’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 this, the grind that man has on this field, and the passion that he has, is amazing. The messages he gives as a leader on the team is amazing. And like I said, if you ask him any question about the opponent, he knows everything about it. It just didn’t roll that way this week.”

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Mills saw just 10 snaps in New England’s disastrous home loss to the New Orleans Saints. It was his second-lowest snap count since joining the Patriots in 2021, with his lowest usage coming in Week 1 of this season (nine snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles.)

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In Weeks 2 through 4, Mills saw 13, 23 and 26 snaps, respectively. So, his playing time did see a noticeable decrease against the Saints.

However, this might be more about a season-long trend than one week. Mills saw 90% of defensive snaps in 2021 and 75% in 2022. The number through five weeks this season is a surprisingly low 24%.

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As a player with a lot of experience, Mills simply understandably wants to play more. And that’s all that matters for cornerback Jonathan Jones.

“He’s a competitor,” Jones said. “You know, we all are. And so, if it’s every snap, I think we all want to be out there. That’s just the way this game goes. You want guys that want to be out there and want to play with you.”

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Mills might play more if he were able and/or willing to play more cornerback, currently a brutally thin position for the Patriots. But the 29-year-old recently made it perfectly clear he feels better off at safety.

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The problem: New England is giving most of its safety playing time to Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers and rookie Marte Mapu. The byproducts have been dramatically reduced roles for Mills and Adrian Phillips (20% of snaps).

So, will Mills get his wish this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, or will he continue riding the bench? This kind of situation typically would land someone in Belichick’s doghouse — but these are different times in New England.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images