New England Patriots kick-off in 23 days: profiling No. 23 Patrick Chung


Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 24 Brandon Fletcher, and the day before that it was No. 25 Daxton Swanson.Because today marks 23 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 23, safety Patrick Chung.

Selected by the Patriots with the 34th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Chung has started 55 of the 74 regular season games he’s appeared in over his six-year career. In that span, Chung has amassed 257 combined tackles, three sacks, eight interceptions and 29 passes defended.

Thus far, Chung’s career can be split into three chapters. The first four years of his NFL days were spent in New England, and he was used in all sorts of situations, from strong safety to free safety to special teamer.

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Then, the Eagles signed him in the 2013 offseason, where he would play easily his worst season as a pro. He was one of the worst rated safeties in the league.

But Chung shook off the slump by returning to the Patriots in 2014, where he started all but one regular season game and all three of the playoff contests. Astonishingly, Chung turned his career around last season and Patriots fans grew to be comforted by Chung’s coverage instead of stressed.

This summer, Chung is positioning himself to retain his starting role. Jordan Richards is giving him plenty of competition, but expect the Patriots to stick with Chung as the starter in Week 1. The workload of the safety spot next to Devin McCourty will be split, but Chung will assume the lion’s share of the snaps.

Chung has been getting beat by Gronk for most of training camp, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hopefully, the practice against the best tight end in football is only making him better.

In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 26 Logan Ryan, No. 27 Tavon Wilson, No. 28 James White, No. 29 LeGarrette Blount, No. 30 Duron Harmon, No. 31 Tarell Brown, No. 32 Devin McCourty, No. 33 Dion Lewis, No. 35 Jonas Gray, No. 36 Tyler Gaffney, No. 37 Jordan Richards, No. 38 Brandon Bolden, No. 39 Travaris Cadet, No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch, No. 46 james Develin, No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui and No. 48 Geneo Grissom.

Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 22 days until Week 1 by profiling the owner of the No. 22 jersey, cornerback Robert McClain.

Next: The 6 most valuable Patriots