After playing "Safety of the Week" during the latter half of the 2011 season, the Patriots have begun addressing the position with the signing of Steve Gregory.The 29-year-old, formerly with the Chargers, has signed a three-year deal, according to his agent David Canter. Speed is an attribute of Gregory's and that's something that's been lacking on the back end of the Patriots defense. But not the only thing. Angles and a little better comprehension of the fits and responsibilities in the secondary are needed as well. When you consider the moves made at the end of training camp -- the release of bad angle expert Brandon Meriweather and the not-so-speedy James Sanders -- it's clear the Patriots thought Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown could fill the void next to Patrick Chung. But Barrett got hurt and Brown underwhelmed. The Patriots got good work from James Ihedigbo back there but he's a hitter more than a centerfielder and that really overlaps the work of Chung, who is generally better in a strong safety role. Devin McCourty and Matt Slater also got reps back there but Slater was duct tape while McCourty should be able to go back to corner. The free agent class at safety -- and the draft class, for that matter -- is weak. We'll see what Gregory brings. A three-year deal does show a level of confidence that he can contribute. And he has special teams value as well so that makes him appealing. Gregory played 782 snaps in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus. According to their stats, 19 of the 30 balls in which he had primary coverage were completed during the course of the season. According to the PFF grading system, Gregory had a positive impact in half of San Diego's 16 games. He had a negative impact -- sizably so -- in the final three games of the Chargers season. In other words, Gregory is a possible answer to the Patriots travails at safety. But New England isn't counting on him as a definite. LaRon Landry, the injury-plagued big hitter from Washington, is still a possibility as well and we hope to update the Patriots' interest on him soon.
President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office.
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president.
"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.
"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."
Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition.
"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."
Brad Stevens talks with Brian Scalabrine what he has learned about coaching from Bill Belichick.