Through 10 games, the pass defense numbers stand in stark contrast to where they were last year. At this point in 2012, the Patriots had allowed 289.7 passing yards per game, 30th in the league. This season, that stands at 229.2, 12th in the league. With the slippage in run defense (due in large part to the fact that the Patriots have lost stalwarts like Wilfork and Kelly), the pass defense was a point of pride through much of the first half of the season. And Talib helped silence Roddy White, Jimmy Graham and Vincent Jackson, cementing a rep as one of the best corners in the league.
I thought it was out-of-line,” Harrison said when asked about Talib, who received an unnecessary roughness penalty, and a defensive holding penalty during the 24-20 loss. ”It’s one thing to go up and jam a guy and to play press coverage and have that physicality at the line of scrimmage. But the way he grabbed and lost his composure, I knew it was over for him.’ ”Steve Smith, he lives for this,” Harrison went on. ”When you elevate Steve Smith’s game by trying to outphysical him - I played against him in the Super Bowl - you can’t. You can’t intimidate him. He’s one of the toughest guys to ever put on a football uniform at any position. That’s what Steve does. He’s a veteran player. He knows how to get in your head. He’s going to irk you, and egg you on all game long. And I thought (Aqib) lost his composure and it ultimately hurt the team.
Aqib Talib’s Halloween Costume Will Haunt You…
Any chance they’d let him play made up like that?
When you look at their schedule — and again, I think that the Jets are an absolute total wild card — but when you look at the Patriots’ schedule coming up, you certainly think that if you have to miss Talib, you’re probably missing him at the right time,” King said. “Because you figure that you can put some pressure on young quarterbacks like Geno Smith and like Ryan Tannehill next week, and quarterbacks that really have been inconsistent. … “And I guess when I look at the Patriots right now, especially on defense, I think what has really helped them tremendously is that they’re getting pressure up front. … I think they’re playing so well in getting pressure compared to maybe past years that I wouldn’t worry about it as much. I worry about it against [Ben] Roethlisberger, but I wouldn’t really worry about it in the next couple of weeks as much as I would worry about it against [Drew] Brees, Roethlisbeger and those guys.
Per a league source, cornerback Aqib Talib is unlikely to play due to a hip flexor strain suffered in Week Six against the Saints.
For years opposing offenses were able to circle the Patriots on their schedule and know that they could log big numbers against the secondary. That’s no longer true, and New England has Talib to thank for that. His standing as a shutdown cornerback is no longer up for debate. First he took down Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson, then Atlanta’s Julio Jones, and finally Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. All three were impressive feats, but the way he erased Jimmy Graham from Sunday’s 30-27 win may be his most impressive performance to date.
I was thinking the other day when I read that [Vince] Wilfork goes down. This is the first thought that comes into my mind. I said, If I’m a Patriots fan, I’m saying, ‘Oh, boy, at least it wasn’t Talib.’ … Look, Vince Wilfork one day will get discussed in the room about going to Canton, in my opinion. But right now, this team, the way football is played — 61-39 pass-run ratio in the NFL so far this year, or something like that, it’s very close — 61 percent passing, going against Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones last week, [Peyton] Manning down the road. If you don’t have at least one good [cornerback] — to me, you know who he is right now? He’s Richard Sherman. He’s good, he’s physical and he knows it. And I want my cornerback to have those three traits. So, to me, that is a gigantic [factor]. You can’t let him go. But on the other hand, you also can’t guarantee him [$]30 million, and a year and a half down the road he does something stupid.