Steve Gregory: A different type of safety for Patriots
|08.15.12 at 10:56 am ET|
FOXBORO — When the Patriots watched Steve Gregory when he was with the Chargers, they saw a different kind of defensive back.
“Versatile player,” Patriots personnel man Nick Caserio said of the 29-year-old safety, who stands 5-foot-11. “He had played a little bit of corner in college. Maybe a little bit undersized just from a height, weight, speed standpoint for the safety position; 190 pounds, but was real fast, aggressive, very instinctive player, matched up well.”
How well? The Patriots saw him go from safety to man coverage when the opposing offense went with an empty set or an extra wide receiver package.
“They played him a little bit at their money position or in some of their dime packages, played him close to the line of scrimmage,” Caserio said. “Steve has done a nice job. He’s a versatile player; he was able to do a number of different things in San Diego’s defense. I think some of the things that we’re doing are a little bit different, just systematically but he’s indoctrinated myself into our system well. He’s done a nice job to this point. He’s been here since day one of the offseason and so far so good.”
So good, indeed. He has three interceptions in camp so far. He had one on Thursday night in the preseason opener against the Saints. He has been roaming all over the field as the free safety and not missing much, player or ball. Patrick Chung had the other interception in the 7-6 win.
‘We’ve been flying around trying to make plays on the ball and priding ourselves on working on our communication and things like that,” Gregory said after Tuesday’s camp session. “It’s been getting better every day.’
His work with Chung so far seems to be the perfect ying-yang fit in the Patriots secondary.
“The more we get to know each other ‘ and that goes across the board with all the guys ‘ the more we get to know each other, get familiar with playing with each other, the better you can communicate,” Gregory said. “That’s what camp’s about and that’s what we’ve been working on.’
Gregory has four interceptions in his six previous seasons with the Chargers, including a 26-yard pick-six last year.