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Quick Kicks: Belichick mum on Talib

When the Patriots acquired troubled but talented cornerback Aqib Talib late last Thursday at the NFL’s trade deadline, it was the talk of the football world for a while.


But talk was the last thing head coach Bill Belichick wanted to do today on that particular subject. Because New England had its bye week this past weekend, Patriots coaches and players were not available for media interviews. Today was the first opportunity for the press to speak with Belichick about the Talib transaction.

"I think he's a good player," was about all Belichick would say about Talib during a conference call with the media.

Good, certainly, but Talib has had run-ins with the law and the league since he became a pro. He is also currently serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and is therefore not eligible to play for New England until Week 11 against Indianapolis.

"Our focus is on [our next opponent] the Bills and the players that will be with us at this time," added Belichick. "When he gets here then we'll deal with that."

And that will be next week, presumably?

"When the league allows him to," Belichick stated.

Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was equally circumspect about his newest player, nearly echoing Belichick's comments.

"He's a good player. When we do get a chance to work with him we'll address that at the time," remarked Patricia.

The arrival of the 6-1, 205-pound corner begs another obvious question: What will become of former first-round draft choice Devin McCourty? Recently, McCourty has been forced to move to safety as injuries have taken their toll on New England's secondary. The emergence of rookie Alfonzo Dennard, who has stepped in at McCourty's usual left corner position, puts the coaching staff in a challenging spot.

Move McCourty back there, move him over to right corner, or keep him at safety?

The last option might end up being the most appealing, as it would allow McCourty, Dennard, and Talib, in theory, to be on the field together at the same time.

Patricia described McCourty's situation as "week by week," while Belichick acknowledged his flexibility and willingness to move around where needed. However, Belichick stressed that he'd prefer to have more consistency in his lineup in the defensive backfield. The next question then becomes, what happens when the injured safeties – Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory – are ready to return?

Questions, like those about Talib, for which we didn't get the answers we hoped for today.

Due to the bye week, the Patriots' work schedule is slightly different this week, with today being their off day and Tuesday a regular day of work. They'll have four days of practice this week to prepare for the Bills, who come to Gillette this Sunday for a 1 o'clock kickoff.

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