The New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib so far is staying true to his work ethic and he is taking up his six year NFL experience to a leadership role. Talib has not looked back since he left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last October, and his work ethic and good citizen behavior show his determination to make his NFL career – better yet, his Patriot career work. Not only is Talib reestablishing his reputation, he is also in a mission to improve his stock value for next year’s free agent market by finishing with a strong season as he re-signed with the Patriots on a $5 million one-year deal instead of a five-year deal, basically “betting on himself”.
Talib impact to this Patriots defense was felt since his debut against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. For this season being his first training camp in the Patriots system, his progress is outstanding as Talib has raised the bar and got coaches attention that he not only can take care of bigger receivers like Texans Houston Andre Johnson on the outside, but he is revealing the capability to keep up with smaller, faster receivers like Danny Amendola in the slot as Paul Perillo described.
Talib’s “new-hidden” talent was kept low key by coach Belichick as he replied to a question by veering off to a broad statement of the position itself, “I don’t know. We go against all the receivers – all the DBs get matched up against all the receivers eventually. We have, like most teams, different corners, different receivers. Some guys are taller, some guys are shorter, some guys are faster, some guys are quicker, some guys are stronger”. It could be that coach Belichick is not making a big deal of Talib’s improved performance, but I don’t think Talib’s talent should be unnoticed. It could very well be that he is more interested in keeping Amendola’s weak spot (if that’s the case) under the cover.
Talib had another big play on Friday’s practice by intercepting the ball intended to Josh Boyce by tipping the ball to himself and returning for a touchdown. Apparently he tried to spike the ball, which then bounced up hitting his inner tight. Talib got shook up, but returned to the next play later as described by Boston Globe Shalise Manza Young. I personally like Talib’s presence in the secondary. He brings a stability that was not seen since Asante Samuel chased the paper. He just needs to stay health and continue to make big plays because he is certainly heading to a big payday when he hits free agency, and I’m interested in seeing him taking the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory.