Monday, February 3, 2014

Harrison: Patriots need more physicality at safety


Kam Chancellor's performance against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl was tough not to notice. So much in fact that it likely has opposing teams out shopping for a hard-hitting safety of their own.

At least that's the opinion of former defensive back Rodney Harrison, who thinks his former team, the New England Patriots, should continue its search for a big body to sheriff the middle of the field.

"I really believe, if they could get that physical, hard-hitting safety … I think that's something they need to look for,” Harrison said Monday, via "Someone like [Seattle's] Kam Chancellor, or even not that big of a safety because it's hard to find safeties that big that can still move.
"But just somebody, when you come across the middle, you know you're going to get whacked."

Not having someone to take shots at the likes of former Pats receiver Wes Welker in the slot, as well as tight ends on the seam, was an issue this season for the New England secondary.

Chancellor showed his proficiency in that department Sunday night, knocking around Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas and holding Broncos receivers to very few yards after the catch.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston pointed out Monday, that role for New England was supposed to be filled by veteran Adrian Wilson, who the Pats signed in the offseason to beef up their secondary and provide some guidance for a young group of defensive backs.

While the guidance part may have partly played out as planned, his presence in the backfield certainly didn't, and an Injured Reserve designation and subsequent Achilles surgery could end with him packing before he gets a regular season game under his belt.

New England's safety tandem as it stands is Devin McCourty -- listed at five feet, 10 inches tall and 195 pounds -- and Steve Gregory, officially five pounds heavier and an inch taller.

With Tavon Wilson and rookie Duron Harmon waiting in the wings, it'll be interesting to see whether the Pats decide to build on what they currently have or take another shot at a DB in this year's draft, which is touting a few big pass defenders.

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