One of the most intriguing sections on the 2013 Patriots roster, unsurprisingly, is the defensive backfield.
In 2012, the mid-season acquisition of Aqib Talib along with the addition of late-round flyer Alfonzo Dennard formed a starting cornerback duo that made the Patriots a respectable threat in pass defense for the first time in years. Devin McCourty flourishing at safety also helped this cause.
Dennard's status is uncertain at this point, but he could still see plenty of action if his recent suspicion of DUI case goes in his favor. As for the others, they will return and, as CSNNE Patriots insider Tom E. Curran relayed, McCourty feels a lot more secure about the secondary than in recent seasons.
"[McCourty] noted that when you come to the stadium and you know that you have Aqib Talib on one side, Alfonzo Dennard generally on the other and Adrian Wilson next to you, it gives you a sense of calm and you can trust those guys," Curran said. "You don't have to look and wonder whether or not they're going to be in the right spot, which allows you to play with a little bit more aggression."
Wilson will be a bit of a wild card for the Pats. The 12-year veteran was cut by the only NFL team he has ever known, the Arizona Cardinals, earlier this spring. The safety was a 5-time Pro Bowler but has slipped in recent years and is certainly getting up there in age. His skills still have some kick to them though and that makes it a mystery as to how the Patriots will employ him.
"Not sure how they're going to deploy him because we've seen Steve Gregory mixed in so much, not sure if he's going to be a big nickel guy," Curran said. "We did see him Wednesday lined up in the linebacker level, but I'm curious still to see exactly how they're going to utilize him."