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Bill Belichick and players talk Aqib Talib’s arrival and where he might fit

11.12.12 at 7:13 pm ET
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The Patriots are welcoming Aqib Talib into the program.

The cornerback, who was acquired earlier this month at the trade deadline from Tampa Bay, was cleared to enter the facility at Gillette Stadium Monday after a four-game suspension for violating the league’€™s drug policy. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on a Monday afternoon conference call that he has already had the chance to speak with Talib, and that the team is working with him to get him up to speed in the system as soon as possible, which will include his first practice with the team on Wednesday.

‘€œWe’€™re not going to be on the practice field until Wednesday, so we’€™ll go out there Wednesday and see what it looks like,’€ Belichick said when asked about Talib. ‘€œWe’€™ll spend time with him, trying to get him caught up in terms of terminology and scheme and that type of thing. We’€™ll see how all that comes together as we move through our preparations this week. I don’€™t really know how it will turn out.

‘€œ[We’€™ll] just try to work with him on an individual basis and work with him in terms of terminology, film study of what we’€™re doing and also to get ahead on our opponent this week, start working on some of that too and see how it all comes together.’€

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was part of the same draft class as Talib in 2008, and said Monday their paths crossed a few times during the pre-draft process.

‘€œI just know that he is a competitor and he loves the game,’€ Mayo said. ‘€œLike you said, I’€™m not really sure as far as the way he plays the game, but I just know he goes out there and plays hard every day.

‘€œI wouldn’€™t say [we became] the best of friends, but at the same time your main focus is to try to get a job, you’€™re out there on an interview process,’€ Mayo added. ‘€œBut when we crossed paths he seemed like a cool guy, and hopefully, I get a chance to meet him on Wednesday.’€

Defensive back Devin McCourty figures to get the chance to work closely with Talib, who will join a secondary that will have a lot of shifting parts over the next few weeks.

‘€œWednesday he’€™ll get here and we’€™ll get to get out there and practice and he’€™ll be a part of the team, so it will be a big week for us,’€ McCourty said. ‘€œJust to get another guy out there that you know is a good player, it will be exciting. We’€™ll have to draw some chemistry and go out there and play well this weekend.

‘€œI’€™ve seen him play a bunch of times. He’€™s a solid player. He’€™s a very good player,’€ McCourty added. ‘€œI’€™m sure he’€™ll be able to help us in a lot of different ways.’€

The acquisition of Talib to have an impact on McCourty — specifically where he ends up playing the rest of the year. In his two-plus seasons in New England, he’€™s worked primarily at corner, but spent some time at safety at the end of the 2011 season, as well as a handful of games this year. If Talib acclimates quickly at corner, it could mean more snaps at safety for McCourty.

‘€œYou know, here, anything is kind of possible as far as guys playing different positions,’€ McCourty said. ‘€œLike I said after the game, I’€™m getting more and more comfortable at playing safety the more snaps I get. Coach [Belichick] is always telling me to be ready to play safety or corner, whatever the team needs me to do. Each week I think it could change; it could stay the same. However coach Belichick sees that and [defensive coordinator Matt Patricia], however they want to go about it, that’€™s how I think we’€™ll have to do it and go from there.’€

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