New England Patriots: Safety Position Not A Concern Despite Patrick Chung's Departure

By Tyler Ash
Patrick Chung
Greg M. Cooper- USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Chung has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, ending his disappointing tenure with the New England Patriots. The safety and former second round pick will reunite with Chip Kelly, who was the offensive coordinator for the final two seasons of Chung’s playing days at the University of Oregon.

Chung was selected 34th overall in the 2009 NFL draft in a pick that was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel. Chung had an impressive season in 2010, tallying 96 tackles to go along with three interceptions in 14 games played.  But injuries derailed Chung in 2011, limiting him to just eight games, totaling 62 tackles and one interception.

Chung opened the 2012 season as a starter, but he never regained his spot on the depth chart after injuring his shoulder in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks.  After the Patriots acquired Aqib Talib at the trade deadline, Devin McCourty was shifted to the safety position, bumping Chung off the first string.

The coaching staff was not too keen of McCourty towards the end of the 2012 season, made evident by Chung playing a mere two snaps in the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots still have Steven Gregory and Tavon Wilson on the depth chart for safeties, while free agent Devin McCourty may also return to the team.  The Patriots have their sights set on signing talented safety Ed Reed. There will be plenty of competition for Reed, but his relationship with Bill Belichick may give the Patriots an upper hand in negotiations.

The departure of Chung will not hurt the Patriots secondary in the least bit. Chung may be only 25 years old, but his inability to stay on the field (missing 16 of a possible 66 career games) is a major concern. He also regressed in each of the past two seasons, proving it was time to let him go.

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