Communication 'invaluable' for safeties

Communication 'invaluable' for safeties
August 17, 2013, 3:00 pm
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FOXBORO – Even though Devin McCourty hasn’t played safety in either of the Patriots first two preseason games, Bill Belichick has gotten long looks at potential pairings at the back of his defense.
 
Between veterans Steve Gregory and Adrian Wilson and young players like Tavon Wilson and rookie Duron Harmon, Belichick said it’s been competitive back there.
 
The time is soon coming where Belichick needs to narrow the snaps, though.
 
“One of the good things about working a lot of people in is you get to see a lot of different people in and whenever those combinations come up again there’s some familiarity,” said Belichick. “At the same time, it’s harder for a couple of people to get good and comfortable with each other as much as they could. We’ll have to balance that out and make a decision on that fairly soon. It’s a very competitive position and we want to make sure we give everyone a good opportunity and make the best decision we can.”
 
With McCourty still staying out of harm’s way because of his repaired shoulder, the Patriots have given Adrian Wilson and Steve Gregory a lot of snaps together in the early going. Experience and ability to communicate, Belichick says, is invaluable to the safety spot. Those attributes are as important as speed and athleticism, Belichick explained.
 
“All those positions down the middle - safety, middle linebacker, center, quarterback - a big part of each of those jobs in communication, working with other people beside you and in front of you,” said Belichick. “Being able to control things from the middle of the field by calls or adjustments or whatever decisions those respective positions make. Absolutely, that comes into play. You can’t play those positions if you can’t do those things.”
 
Tavon Wilson, for example, was in the middle of some good plays and bad plays Friday night.
 
He had an excellent pass breakup along the sidelines in the third quarter when he ranged to his right to help over the top on a deep throw. He also broke up a Bucs pass in the end zone on a throw from the 1. The reason the Bucs were at the Patriots’ 1 was because Wilson was called for defensive holding in the end zone. He was also beaten for a touchdown on a well-thrown back shoulder throw from Mike Glennon.
 
“I think there have been a lot of positives and I think there’s room for improvement,” sajd Belichick. “There’s a number of things we need to work on to get better. We had several good plays back there and there were a few that we didn’t get that we need to get.”
 
Trust and the ability to get teammates to buy into your calls are a huge part of success for the last line of defense.  
 
“Guys that have done it before, that are sure of what they’re doing, that can not only make the right decision but can do it with a confidence that everybody immediately reacts to and it’s a decision that is pretty much final (is important),” Belichick explained. “There are times when you can make the right call or do the right thing but if it isn’t done with that high level of confidence or sincerity, it can lead to some indecision, even though it’s the right thing. That only comes from experience and doing things right repetitively and knowing they’re right, you become more confident doing it, the people you’re working with.
 
“That’s part of the process we’re going through,” said Belichick. “Even if you do the right thing, if you don’t have conviction about it, everyone else isn’t necessarily sure it is the right thing. That’s all part of it. I think they all have done that.