Talib hopes to make most of opportunity with Patriots

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Talib hopes to make most of opportunity with Patriots

FOXBORO -- Aqib Talib smiled wide as he approached his new locker at Gillette Stadium. There was a hoard of media members crowded around, anticipating his arrival.

"I was waiting for it," Talib said of the attention he received. "I knew what was coming. I got the heads up."

The crowd on Sunday at Gillette Stadium will be bigger, and all eyes will be glued to the new Patriots cornerback to see if he will be able to contribute immediately to the team's pass defense, which ranks as the fourth-worst in the league in pass yards allowed per game (285.3).

For his part, Talib wouldn't say what his role will be against the Colts, only that he's ready for anything.

"Just coming in to learn quick as possible," he said. "Work hard and see what I can do to help the team. I'm just coming in and doing what's asked to be done. If that's help right away, I'll help right away. If that's help down the road, I'll help down the road. I'm just coming in, doing what's asked to be done."

One area in which it appears as though he's already up to speed: He has Patriots Speak down pat. Not bad for a player who was only able to have contact with the team starting on Monday after serving a four-game suspension for using performance enhancers.

He was traded from the Buccaneers to the Patriots just before the trade deadline two weeks ago in exchange for a New England fourth-round pick.

Talib said that when he met with coach Bill Belichick, the two did not discuss the 26-year-old's checkered past.

"We kinda just talked straight football," Talib said. "He didn't bring up the past, I didn't bring up the past. He didn't bring up the future, I didn't bring up the future. We're kinda just taking it one day at a time."

His new Patriots teammates have embraced him. Quarterback Tom Brady made a point to introduce himself and offer whatever help he could.

Brady said he's liked what he's seen from Talib in the two practices they've had together.

"Yeah, hes been competing hard out there," Brady said. "Its good work for us. Hes been fun to have out there. Ive had a few conversations with him. Well see. Hopefully he can help."

His defensive teammates hope so, too. And though Talib is still in the process of getting caught up with a new scheme, they think he's capable of chipping in soon.

"I think he'll do a real good job for us," Vince Wilfork said. "Hopefully he will. He's a hell of a player so. We brought him in for a reason and that's to help this ball club. Hopefully he can do that. We got a bunch of good guys in here that want to win and have a passion for this game. Hopefully that shows Sunday and we continue to win because that's what it's about at the end of the day."

"He's come in an he's tried to learn all the schemes," Jerod Mayo said, "and he's studied a lot of film and he's learning the Colts. And that's all you can ask for."

Talib has played a lot of man coverage in his five year career, but he says he's comfortable in zone packages as well. Again, he said whatever the team asks of him, he'll do.

"For a corner, you can almost play for any team," he said. "It's football. You gonna play one of eight coverages. I've done it all before. I'm just doing what's being called out there."

Now the Patriots just need to see if he can be an improvement over some of the other players they've tried in the secondary this season.

Talib's hopeful to make the most of his chance.

"It's a great opportunity with a great organization," he said. "Just to come in and do what I can to help win some ball games."

Perry: Can finally put a face to Patriots draft punishment

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Perry: Can finally put a face to Patriots draft punishment

Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran discuss the New England Patriots losing their first-round pick, and how they can finally put a face to the punishment and see which player they could've drafted.

Stevens: Thomas, C's must make right play, not force shots

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Stevens: Thomas, C's must make right play, not force shots

BOSTON - Isaiah Thomas is good to go for Game 6, though it's yet to be determined how much the ankle will affect him.

Either way, he can expect much of the focus to be on him throughout the game, as it has been for the entire series.

In Game 5 specifically, though, the Hawks stopped Thomas in a way they haven't been able to all series. The result? Just seven points for the C's leading scorer. They brought the double-team, and sometimes even the triple-team, making him unable to score.

But though Thomas' main objective is to score, as the starting point guard he's needed to do much more than that.

"You just have to make the right basketball play," Stevens said when asked if Thomas needs to be more aggressive when he's trapped. "He’s going to have the ball a ton for us, he’s going to be off the ball on actions for us, he’s going to have to read when he should screen, he’s going to have to read when he gets the ball how he’s being played, and just make the right basketball play.

"There’s certainly things you can do to alleviate some of that. But I felt we attacked it really well at the start of the game. Certainly part of their scoring runs was some bad offense on our part in the latter parts of the game. I left thinking Isaiah made a lot of the right basketball plays. That’s his charge – he has to do that, and we’ll follow suit."

Following suit with making the right decision - and hitting the shot - is something the C's couldn't do much of in Game 5. If Boston wants its playoff run to continue, it's going to have to be a team effort.

"We just have to make the right read, whether it’s catch and shoot or whether it’s catch and rip and drive," Stevens said. "Somebody else gets in the paint and makes the right read, and that’s part of it. We have good players who can do that, I believe they can and Isaiah does too. But Isaiah can’t force. If they’re going to put two to the ball, that’s when you have to make the right basketball play."