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Peter King on M&M: Patriots ‘desperately need Aqib Talib’

10.04.13 at 2:16 pm ET

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, at Fenway Park for Friday’s Red Sox-Rays game, stopped by for his weekly visit with Mut & Merloni to discuss news from around the NFL.

Aqib Talib is having a tremendous season, leading to speculation that the Patriots will attempt to sign the cornerback to a contract extension to avoid having him become a free agent at the end of the season. However, questionable behavior in Talib’s past makes the decision more difficult.

“If you’re Bob Kraft, Jonathan Kraft, Bill Belichick, what you have to do is, you really have to do — I’m sure they’ve done a lot of homework already on Aqib Talib before they acquired him. And I’m sure that they’re doing more now. Because I’m sure Bill understands that as a football player, they desperately need Aqib Talib,” King said.

“I was thinking the other day when I read that [Vince] Wilfork goes down. This is the first thought that comes into my mind. I said, If I’m a Patriots fan, I’m saying, ‘Oh, boy, at least it wasn’t Talib.’ ‘€¦ Look, Vince Wilfork one day will get discussed in the room about going to Canton, in my opinion. But right now, this team, the way football is played — 61-39 pass-run ratio in the NFL so far this year, or something like that, it’s very close — 61 percent passing, going against Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones last week, [Peyton] Manning down the road. If you don’t have at least one good [cornerback] — to me, you know who he is right now? He’s Richard Sherman. He’s good, he’s physical and he knows it. And I want my cornerback to have those three traits. So, to me, that is a gigantic [factor]. You can’t let him go. But on the other hand, you also can’t guarantee him [$]30 million, and a year and a half down the road he does something stupid.

“Hey, there’s no right answer if you’re the Patriots. But I think the rightest answer is to sign Aqib Talib for as long as you can, but build enough insurance points into the contract so that if he does something dumb in two years, you’re not liable for this gigantic cap hit.”

The Patriots added oft-injured Austin Collie to the roster Thursday in an attempt to add depth to the receiving corps.

“There’s nobody who knows — and I mean nobody — who knows if he’s going to last two years, two weeks or two days. He has had so many problems with concussions,” King said. “And with the way the league is right now, they’re going to be so adamant about Austin Collie being right every time he goes on the field. I viewed it honestly as a shot in the dark, what can it hurt. Bring him in here. He’s definitely a worthy player on a winning team.

“But the guy’s been out there for a while. And the guy was in camp this summer with San Francisco. ‘€¦ Really at that time, nobody needed Austin Collie more than the 49ers. And they didn’t keep him.”

Next up for the Patriots are the Bengals, led by quarterback Andy Dalton.

“I advocated for Andy Dalton to be a first-round pick the year that he came out [2011]. And I think that in the course of his career, he’s going to be an average to slightly above average quarterback — whatever, 14, 16, 17, something right around there,” King said. “But I’ve seen him way too much since the last couple of games of last year and so far this year, that he’s not accurate enough and he does not play well down the stretch of games.

“I gave you the stat at the beginning of the year: He’s had 23 postseason drives, zero touchdown passes in those 23 postseason drives, both [games] against Houston. And what really concerns me is that over time, he’s going to be just good enough so that the Bengals are going to look at him and say, ‘You know, we can win with this guy.’ Yeah, you can win with this guy — if you’re perfect.”

Brian Hoyer, the former Patriots backup who won a starting job with the Browns, tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season after he was hit while attempting to slide during Thursday night’s victory over the Bills. Buffalo quarterback EJ Manuel also hurt his knee in the game while scrambling to get an extra yardage.

“I feel terrible for Hoyer,” King said. “He’s one of the nicest guys in the league. Everybody really loves the guy. Brady loves him, the Patriots loved him. He’s a great person, and he always did what you asked him to do.

“I leave that game last night thinking that — you see two quarterbacks; EJ Manuel went out because he was stupid. He tried to make an extra half-yard and play Larry Csonka at the sidelines. That was just a dumb play by a quarterback who should know better. I know EJ Manuel a little bit; he’s really a smart guy.”

Hoyer’s inability to execute a simple slide contributed to his injury.

“Brian Hoyer would not have gotten hurt if he slid properly,” King said. “He slid awkwardly, and Kiko Alonzo plowed into him. It’s not Kiko Alonso’s fault. He slid awkwardly. ‘€¦ All these quarterbacks, they ought to be made to [practice sliding] so that we don’t have these idiotic [injuries]. I hate to say it, [but] that was an idiotic injury that Brian Hoyer suffered. It should never have happened in a million years. If he slid correctly, it never would have happened.”

Regarding the Buccaneers‘ issues with quarterback Josh Freeman that led to Freeman’s release, King said people shouldn’t pile on coach Greg Schiano.

“I think that we’ve only gotten one side of the story — the side of the story that says Greg Schiano is a total nincompoop, idiot, just a bad human being, spy, all that stuff. I just am going to tell you this right now: I think about two-thirds of the stuff out there about Schiano is absolute bullcrap,” King said. “I think that Greg Schiano, I think he’s a good man. I really do. And I think that given a chance, a fair chance, he’s going to win. But I see this snowball rolling downhill right now. This everything against Greg Schiano.”

Added King: “At some point, you’ve got to perform. And Josh Freeman is a 50 percent passer over his last 10 starts in the NFL. I’m sorry if I’m not getting in the violin line for Josh Freeman. And if I am not quick to shovel dirt on Greg Schiano’s NFL career. Because he cast his lot — at least for the first two years — with a quarterback who, for whatever reason — maybe coaching is part of it, it probably is — but he cast his lot with this guy. And regardless of why it happened, how it happened, to me, I think it’s pretty unfair to absolutely kill Schiano in this thing and paint Josh Freeman as some sort of wronged saint.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Read More: Andy Dalton, Aqib Talib, austin collie, Brian Hoyer



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