Eleven days after acquiring CB Aqib Talib at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he has finally been cleared to join the New England Patriots. His addition can only help the shaky Patriots secondary but New England fans need to be careful of how much they expect out of Talib.
New England surrendered a fourth-round draft pick for the former first-rounder at the start of this month and he will be the latest reclamation project undertaken by head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick has never shunned players with character issues over the last few years, and even acquired DT Albert Haynesworth.
Talib comes with a laundry list of personal issues. Marijuana issues in college. Assault of a teammate. Assault of a taxicab driver. Felony gun charges levied on him in Texas last offseason, which were eventually dropped. And most recently, a four-game suspension for testing positive for the banned substance, Adderall.
The Kansas product will likely be on his best behavior with the Patriots however, as he is slated for free agency after this season and is looking for that first big contract of his career. He has always shown flashes of greatness on the field in Tampa but would have lapses, at times seemingly playing as if he was disinterested.
The word from the Patriots is that the acquisition of Talib will now allow the team to move Devin McCourty to the safety position on a full-time basis. However, Talib plays best in man coverage, not the zone that the Patriots employ. At this point, the Patriots need to explore any options in order to shore up a pass defense which is ranked 29th in the NFL.
Teams are throwing at will against New England and the team has allowed a league leading 47 pass plays of 20 or more yards so far this season.The Buffalo Bills put up 481 yards of offense on the Patriots defense on Sunday. The Bills, despite 14 penalties for 148 yards.
Talib will be caught out of position at times. Against the New York Giants in week two, the Giants targeted Talib in their matchups. Eli Manning threw for 510 yards and two scores were right at Talib. In the fourth quarter, Victor Cruz simply ran right past Talib on his way to an 80-yard touchdown.
So while I believe Talib will be a model citizen for the remainder of this season heading into free agency, Patriots fans should not put all their faith into the addition of the troubled corner as the savior of the secondary.