Steve Gregory might be one of the more well-known defenders for the New England Patriots, but his name has been bigger than his play this season. Matt Patricia does not seem to think so as Gregory has played a fair amount of defensive snaps when he has been healthy. It is time for a revaluation, however.
Gregory is a run-stuffing strong safety, which is something that is starting to get factored out of the NFL. Quarterbacks are throwing the football a lot more these days and with more success as well. That is why defensive coordinators are starting to stock up on safeties that are more adept in coverage. No longer do you see the days of a free safety who can cover and a strong safety who can plug the run.
This is why Gregory’s game is out-of-date. He is a hard tackler and can help step up in the box, but his coverage skills are abysmal. Other than Kyle Arrington, Gregory is probably the most-burned defensive back on the Patriots. His lack of size and speed is what gets him routinely burned.
Gregory does not complement Devin McCourty well either. When the two are on the field together McCourty is forced to play free safety, a position that he is undersized for. There is no question that McCourty fits the strong safety position much better than free safety, and he has far superior coverage skills to Gregory.
The best solution is to play Duron Harmon at free safety and McCourty at strong safety. Meanwhile, Patricia can get more creative with how he uses Gregory. He could use Gregory as a linebacker in nickel and dime packages, which would help improve overall coverage. Either way, there is no doubt that Gregory is the third-best safety on the team right now, and it’s time for him to be removed from his starting position.
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.