As we all know, for the past few years the New England Patriots pass defense has been... let's say "shaky". However, with the decision made by Bill Belichick to bring in some experience by trading for Aqib Talib, the situation has improved... slightly. Well, he had a pick six on his debut, so there's an improvement.
And Talib has played against the best. And he loves it. Notable wide receivers he's come up against include Marques Colston, Roddy White, Dez Bryant and Madden 13 cover star Calvin Johnson. Not a bad set of receivers. On Monday night, he's got a massive task on his hands in the form of Andre Johnson, who already has 1113 yards this season. And this is a task Talib relishes.
“Definitely. You always want to play against the best, know what I’m saying?” said Talib, “and as a team, we get to play against one of the best in the AFC, so I’m looking forward to it. "
And he certainly believes Johnson is one of the best.
"He’s one of the best at what he does,” Talib said of Johnson. “He really can do it all, from short routes, to deeper routes, run with the ball in the hands, go up and get the ball when it’s down the field. He can do it all.”
If there's one thing I'm worried about heading into this match up, it's Andre Johnson. And to be fair, even if Talib stays locked on to Johnson, I believe he can do a job.
BUT the safety play by the Patriots this year has simply been atrocious. Talib seems to be a guy who knows how to play corner back in a defense where the safeties know what they're doing. However, he hasn't got that support behind him to play the best defense he can.
|I would have used a picture of Johnson playing football, but I couldn't resist...|
(A metaphorical win that is. I'm not saying if we keep Johnson under 100 yards, we'll win.)
Either way, you can be sure Matt Schaub will be locking onto Johnson (probably using play-action, and going deep), in a similar fashion to how Joe Flacco locked onto Torrey Smith earlier on this season against the Patriots. It's a question of whether Talib can stop him, in on of the top intriguing encounters of this key AFC match up.
How do you feel we'll fare against Johnson, or is he even the key? Let me know your views in the comments, or on Twitter @BrendanAnnely