The Patriots needed to upgrade their safety position opposite Patrick Chung, and their two additions are working out nicely. FS Steve Gregory had an interception in a Week Three loss to Baltimore. Second-round rookie S Tavon Wilson had a pick in the season opener and has been a steady special-teams contributor.
The way we hear it, the Patriots really like Wilson, who was a very curious draft pick. Wilson’s stock was rising at the time, but he was still projected as a late-rounder — certainly not a second-round pick. He has physicality and the versatility Bill Belichick looks for in the secondary. Gregory has played well and brings stability to a free-safety position that has needed it.
The other key with the safeties thus far, and possibly going forward, is they are helping a cornerback group that isn’t intimidating opponents. Ras-I Dowling failed to seize a starting job and even saw himself playing behind Sterling Moore as the No. 3 corner. Devin McCourty is finding himself in good positions in coverage, but hasn’t capitalized on some interception opportunities, and Kyle Arrington has given up big plays. Chung, when healthy, is consistently the top player in the secondary — he has been for two seasons — but now that Gregory and Wilson are adding to the defense, their play could prove to continue to be crucial to help the corners.
- Steve Gregory
- Patrick Chung