The New England Patriots made a free agent upgrade at strong safety by signing former Arizona Cardinals star Adrian Wilson to a three-year deal, which was interesting considering Wilson’s age. The Cardinals presumably released Wilson due to a decline, although I would say that they exaggerated his struggles in coverage. Wilson is clearly a burn prone SS (Zach Sudfeld showed that in camp a couple of times) and should not be trusted in deep coverage, but that’s not even his job. The Patriots need him to be an enforcing veteran who can play the run well and cover short and intermediate routes, and those are exactly the things Wilson can do.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prior to NFL training camp at the NovaCare complex. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Belichick had this to say about Wilson during yesterday’s press conference, ” You know, Adrian is a pretty experienced player. He’s got good instincts. At times, there are different calls or situations that come up that Steve [Gregory] or Devin will talk to him about, but most everything he’s doing, he’s done before. It was just called differently or maybe structured a little bit differently. But Adrian is a pretty experience player and he’s got a little bit different playing style than some of the other guys we have at that position. But he’s doing well. I think it’s coming together for him and for the entire group.”
“Pretty experienced”? Hooray for understatements, because I would say that Wilson has pretty much seen it all in this league. He’s been to a Super Bowl and been on some awful teams (last year’s Cards being an example). Wilson is going to justify the Patriots decision to give him three years, because he hasn’t come close to being fully declined yet. His coverage last season was actually decent, and I think his run defense will improve (not to 2011 levels, though) with better players around him. Nothing against the Cardinals run defense last season, but the Patriots have one of the best run-stopping defenses- at every position group- in the NFL.