Talib was playing the best football of his professional career before going down with the injury. He was continuously shutting down No. 1 targets on opposing offenses and was in the midst of a season-best performance before he went down. The cornerback had held New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham without a catch for a good portion of the contest, something that no other defender has done all season.
Now Talib’s presence is needed once again. He must get healthy and be ready to battle Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who is one of the most physical players in the league. Smith is not only physical, but he can get by opposing cornerbacks with his deep speed.
It takes a certain type of cornerback to cover Smith. The opposing cornerback must match Smith’s physicality blow-for-blow as he can tend to get in his opponent’s head. Also, the cornerback must be a veteran because Smith is too crafty for younger corners.
That is why Talib must make his return for this game. He possesses the physicality and veteran smarts required to do battle (and succeed) against Smith. Cam Newton would constantly target any other opposing cornerback that tries to cover Smith.
Add that to the fact that Talib has now had four weeks to recover and has been able to practice. That makes this game is the perfect time for Talib to come back.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.