When the New England Patriots signed veteran strong safety Adrian Wilson this spring it looked like they may have finally found an answer to their difficulties in the defensive backfield.
But, despite all the hope they had for him, Wilson has showed his age. He constantly takes bad angles to the ball, misses tackles and has clearly lost a step. He looks like a guy that got by for years on his physical ability, and when that ability is gone he’s lost out there.
Wilson made a career out of being a physical, playmaking safety – something the Patriots have been missing since the glory years of their defense almost a decade ago. We all thought he’d be an upgrade over what New England has had recently at safety, but so far Wilson has failed to impress in preseason action.
It got so bad that the 13-year veteran and former Pro Bowler was relegated to special teams duty in the fourth preseason game, a spot usually reserved for young players trying to find a way to make it in the league.
Special teams would have been a great way for Wilson to provide value to the Patriots, but to make things even worse, he didn’t even do that well. Just like when he was on the field defensively, he was unable to make plays in space and took bad angles to the ball.
When Wilson came to camp I was among those who thought his veteran leadership and hard-hitting style would give him a legitimate attempt to compete for a starting job. Instead of being the upgrade at safety that many were hoping for, he’s been a disappointment in training camp.
The Patriots still have issues in the defensive backfield, that’s for sure, but Wilson isn’t the answer. Father Time catches up with every player eventually, and it’s clearly caught up with Wilson.