New England Patriots strong safety Steve Gregory finds himself squarely on the roster bubble after a subpar 2012 season (he was poor in coverage and missed the most tackles on the team), but his leadership could carry the day. Immediately when he came to the Patriots after playing for the San Diego Chargers, Gregory was praised for his leadership and also showed those qualities in San Diego. In his second training camp with the team, Gregory is busy helping out the rookie DBs, most notably Duron Harmon, who is one of the reasons why Gregory finds himself on the bubble.
Harmon stated, via the Boston Herald, “Steve gives me advice more on the mental aspect of the game. He’s a very, very intelligent football player. He really takes control of the game when he’s at safety. And I just try to watch him as closely as possible just to see what he sees and when I don’t understand something that he does, I quickly ask him a question.”
The third-round pick out of Rutgers added, (Gregory) does his best to explain it to me, so I can understand, so I can eventually be a person who can eventually take control of the defense, like how he does.”
If Gregory does cut the 53-man roster, then it will be at Nate Ebner’s expense, and that really could be the case. Gregory doesn’t have age or cap number on his side, but he is a better safety than Ebner and can also excel on special teams. He might not be quite as good as Ebner on special teams, but he’s certainly close, and special teams isn’t as important as providing depth at safety.
As for Harmon, he’s been impressive and has shown off an ability to play at either safety spot. Harmon should immediately be a top backup for the Patriots, and he has reportedly been the best backup safety in deep coverage.