FOXBORO -- It's a tactic that's been touted as almost revolutionary by many, especially after Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl last season: Having big, physical cornerbacks.
The Patriots contributed to that narrative in their own way by adding Aqib Talib two seasons ago and then Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason.
But nearly two decades ago, the Patriots had in-house the type of cornerback that is now in vogue, and on Friday he's going to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Before Wednesday's training camp practice, Bill Belichick gave his unique take on what made Ty Law so effective during his 10-year stay in New England as a member of the Patriots. Belichick served as Law's defensive backs coach in 1996 and then as his head coach from 2000 to 2004.
"Ty has very good physical size," Belichick said. "He's a big corner, he's a physical corner, he has good playing strength. He's tough, he's a good tackler. He has very good instincts and ball skills. Ty's the type of player that quarterbacks found out playing against him, one way or the other, you might get him once on something but you better be careful that second time. That's kind of the way Ty played."
Law was a two-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler, making his name with his in-your-face style on the outside that helped lead to 53 career interceptions.
"He was aggressive but he was calculated and he knew when to be aggressive, when to take chances and when maybe not to," Belichick said. "But when he pulled the trigger he could pull it and make a lot of great plays. He had excellent ball skills and anticipation . . . A physical, tough player at that position, which you don't always see. But he certainly brought that to us throughout his career and later on when he played safety toward the end of his career."
Law spent the last few years of his time in the NFL with the Jets (2005, 2008), Chiefs (2006-07) and Broncos (2009). His tenure with the Patriots carried with it some turbulence over contract negotiations, and he was released in 2005 after an injury-riddled 2004. But Belichick still remembers Law's days in New England fondly.
They did, after all, include three Super Bowl titles.
"Fun player to coach -- he had a personality," Belichick said. "Didn't always do things exactly by the book or maybe quite how it was outlined, but he was a football player. When the game started he played football and he was very good."