"I don’t know if he’s even missed a play -- at practice," Belichick said. "I mean, he runs 60 yards down the field, comes back, and gets in the huddle and runs another one. He’s got great stamina. ... A hard-working kid, very coachable, he’s out there every day."
Such remarks reflect how the Patriots value availability and provide a springboard to highlight this year’s “90 percent club”: Those players who have been on the field in games for more than 90 percent of the snaps.
Shaq Mason (99.7 percent) -- The right guard was one of the team’s most consistent performers, and could have been at 100 percent if not for a few times he was pulled late with the game in hand.
Tom Brady (98 percent) -- The only time he is pulled is late in games when the outcome is decided, and even then, he seems to enjoy the reward of kneeling on the ball when the opportunity presents itself.
Nate Solder (97.5 percent) -- The left tackle missed all of the preseason, which makes his ironman work all the more impressive.
Malcolm Butler (97.8 percent) -- While his performance has been inconsistent at times, one of the most impressive things about him is his availability, which was critical given injuries to Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe during the year. In the prior two seasons, Butler was at 96.7 and 98.8 percent playing time, respectively.
Devin McCourty (97.1 percent) -- Steady as he goes, the safety and seven-time team captain only comes off the field late in games. He’s also been a training camp ironman in each of his eight years with the club.
Brandin Cooks (92.7 percent) -- Early in the season he was coming off the field in some 1-receiver groupings, but once Chris Hogan was sidelined in the middle of the season, Cooks seldom, if ever, came off.