Bill Belichick‘s defenses have suffered from a variety of factors in recent years, from draft and free agency blunders to unfortunate injuries at terrible times. I don’t think anyone is pointing to coaching as the cause of this: much more so the glue holding it together.
Devin McCourty‘s move from cornerback to free safety helped make the New England Patriots‘ secondary a much more cohesive unit and the trade for Aqib Talib filled the No. 1 corner spot McCourty left behind. Since McCourty is clearly staying at free where he’s been much more successful than cornerback, suddenly the Patriots’ secondary is fairly formidable with veteran strong safety in Adrian Wilson also now in the mix during camp.
Before arriving via free agency from the Arizona Cardinals, Wilson was one of the more underrated players in the league and a borderline top-tier safety a couple years ago. However, the now-33-year-old defensive back would take a precipitous fall in 2012, along with the Cardinals as a whole, and eventually lose his starting job before season’s end.
We know Wilson does have veteran savvy and possesses a high ceiling though, which makes him the perfect element to include in a Belichick defense. His units are typically excellent when collecting talented components and finding a fit for them. Belichick’s wizardry might not be as necessary with this addition, as Wilson fits like a puzzle piece to the spot Patrick Chung used to occupy, with more versatility to boot. I can totally see Wilson become Belichick’s next veteran favorite.
NESN’s Luke Huges had this insight from Patriots training camp.
“Wilson was something of a highlight reel during offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium,” Hughes wrote this week. “He helped out consistently over the top of the defense, deflected some passes and intercepted a few more, looking a lot closer to an All-Pro than over-the-hill. He even played some middle linebacker, which could be a solid move for both the Patriots’ defense and his own career longevity.”