Halloween was Wednesday, but that didn’t stop Bill Belichick from doing a bit of Trick-or-Treating on Thursday.
And he came away some some quality candy.
Belichick was probably one of those kids that had a game plan for Halloween, took mental notes of which houses had the best loot, so that each consecutive year his take was bigger and better – and not any of the lame stuff like pretzels or plastic spider rings – only chocolate, and lots of it. He probably started earlier than most kids, too, so he could hit the houses of the people who gave out hands full of candy so they could run out and shut their porch lights off and go back to watching Matlock…
Many were speculating that Bill would stop by the Reid place in Philadelphia, and still others thought maybe he’d plan on going to Jerry Jones’ neighborhood hoping the cornerback candy was quality and the tricks he had to perform to get the treats weren’t below his standards – but he only visits Andy Reid on Draft Day and the loot in Dallas was damaged goods.
Instead he ended up at his good friend Greg Schiano’s place…
…all dressed up in his Darth Vader gear, with the sleeves appropriately cut off at the elbows and a hood sticking out the back – and when he told his old friend his tale of woe, about how he was just one decent cornerback away from having a championship calibre defense, Schiano said, “Well shucks, Billy – I might have something for you. Yup, I just might“.
What Belichick came away with is a legitimate #1 corner in Tampa Bay’s 2008 first round draft choice Aqib Talib, and the only trick he had to perform was to hand over a 4th round pick next year.
The signing of Talib is monumental because of the impact that it has on the Patriots’ secondary. As things stood at just before 4:00pm on Thursday afternoon, New England had a jumble of players that, if fit together just right, they could legitimately make another second half run like they did last year, making it to the Super Bowl.
The presence of Talib on the depth chart virtually assures it.
No? Consider that the Patriots have an offense ranked in the top five of every major statistical category, a receiving corps that is as diverse as it is physical, a running game that is routinely mentioned among the top 3 in the league, and the best offensive line in the game. And there’s this dude named Tom Brady in charge of the whole thing. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
Consider also that New England boasts a defensive front seven that is as athletic and physical as any in the game, and now they have a legit #1 corner to team with virtually anyone that they choose, and they instantaneously assume quality depth at each defensive backfield position, no matter where they play whom.
One could see a Wilson / McCourty team at Safety to go along with Talib and Dennard at the corners. Or perhaps it would be Talib and McCourty at the corners while Chung and Gregory return to the lineup after nursing injuries for weeks…
The possibilities are endless, and with Belichick being the ultimate leverage junkie, it goes to figure that he pursued the player that gave him the most options – something that Talib gives them over the other options on trade deadline day, The Eagles’ Rodgers-Cromartie and the Cowboy’s Jenkins.
Talib doesn’t come without baggage, however. His off field issues have landed him in Tampa’s doghouse a few times, so he comes with a caveat: At best, the Patriots get their long-awaited #1 cornerback and, at worst, they waste a small amount of money on a juvenile delinquent.
Given the upside, Belichick was willing to bet that Talib is more treat than trick.