Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday for his weekly discussion of the Patriots and NFL news. The big news this week is the Pats' acquisition of Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib.
King noted the risk in bringing in a player "who really has had almost nothing but trouble in his NFL career" and might be overrated.
"It's an upgrade over what they had, but what they had was not very good," King said. "I've seen everything written about how great Talib is. He's not a great corner. He's a good corner. He's an above-average NFL corner. He's going to get beat. … He's had some rough days, and quarterbacks have come after him. So, to me, I kind of look at him and say it's a good addition and he's better than what they had. And who knows how Bill [Belichick] plays it now, but maybe he ends up putting [Devin] McCourty at safety and plays it that way. We'll see when they come back from the bye."
Added King: "The folks at Pro Football Focus who chart such things basically found a stat today that said so far this year, that passer rating when he's been in man coverage so far this year is over 100, and he's allowed 66 percent of the balls to be completed against him. So, this is not nirvana. It's just help for a very wounded part of a contending team. I understand why Bill Belichick did it. But I think unless he plays well and they're able to keep him after this year, you'll question the acquisition on draft day to be sure, because now the Patriots are without third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in this draft."
King explained that the Bucs encouraged Talib to make Tampa his permanent home because he was getting into too much trouble in his hometown of Dallas. Talib acquiesced and was buying into new coach Greg Schiano's system before getting suspended by the league for taking the banned drug Adderall. King expects Talib to similarly toe the line under Belichick.
"I honestly think that this is not a guy who every day you're going to have to be saying, 'OK, what's Aqib Talib doing today? We've got to keep a leash around him at all times.' He's not that kind of guy," King said. "I think for the next two months, he's going to be basically pretty quiet, he's going to try to fall in line. If I'm him, knowing him, he's a good football player, he's going to say, 'This is my chance to show the best coach of this generation that he should use me as a cornerstone player for the future.' "
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