The New England Patriots secondary could take a huge hit now that Alfonzo Dennard’s court date has been moved closer to the regular season opener, but that’s assuming the worst of circumstances. Whether or not Dennard misses some games, Aqib Talib will still be a vitally important component of this secondary. I was critical of Talib’s play last season, but there is no doubt that while he is burn prone, he is one of the best CBs in this league in press coverage and absolutely excels against possession receivers. Andre Johnson and Anquan Boldin bugging you? Talib can have those guys on lockdown.
All the ingredients are there for Aqib Talib to have a big season for the Patriots, and this one-year, prove-it deal was the perfect scenario for both sides. It gives the Patriots a closer look at Talib over a full year, and it also gives Talib a chance to parlay himself into a huge contract with more consistent play. Next year’s free agent market won’t be as saturated with corners like Chris Houston and Derek Cox, so Talib should be free to make some more money.
The trash-talking Kansas product has had a productive offseason and received some praise from Bill Belichick at yesterday’s press conference, “I think Aqib picked up our system very quickly when he got here last year and has been confident and very fluent in it. I don’t think it’s really been a problem. Certainly he’s a lot more comfortable in it now than he was last December but even when he got here, he adapted pretty quickly. He’s a smart guy, he has a lot of experience. I don’t think there’s really anything that we’re doing that he hasn’t done before. Maybe it was called a little differently or maybe it was a little adjustment to a call or that type of thing but I think fundamentally, the things he has done, we do and he’s just had to adapt to maybe some terminology or relatively minor things I would say.”
The fact that Talib will also be in his first full season with the Patriots is bound to help him a bit as well.