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Bill Belichick on the competitive Aqib Talib: ‘He’s not the class clown’

12.11.13 at 12:36 pm ET
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Aqib Talib breaks up a pass for Roddy White in the end zone to save the game against Atlanta. (AP)

Aqib Talib breaks up a pass for Roddy White in the end zone to save the game against Atlanta. (AP)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick loves what Aqib Talib brings to his secondary.

The man-to-man coverage skills. The leadership. The fierce competitiveness. And the personality.

As Belichick reminded everyone Wednesday, the 27-year-old corner has drawn the best opposing receiver dating all the way back to training camp, when he drew Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson. And with the exception of Steve Smith of the Panthers and last week against Josh Gordon, Talib has more than risen to the occasion.

“He’s very competitive. Even from preseason practices, whether it was jumping in line to cover DeSean Jackson or Vincent Jackson or whoever it is, he always wants to compete against the best and feels like it brings out the best in him. He’s a great competitor, he’s a good teammate, he works hard. I think he’s ready to meet any challenge that we’ve given him, whether it be in the kicking game, defensively, run responsibilities, coverage responsibilities, whatever it happens to be. If it helps the team, he’s willing to do it.”

Talib is often seen in the locker room during media availability joking around with fellow defensive backs such as Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Marquice Cole. He was the former housemate of running back LeGarrette Blount, whom he knows from his days in Tampa.

“He’s got good energy. He’s a good teammate. He’s very respected in the locker room and liked in the locker room, which is not always the case. I think he has a good rapport with everybody, the offensive players, defensive players, the DBs and the skill players. The linemen. He just has a good way about him. He’s not the class clown but at the same time he has a good personality and he’s serious and competitive. He’s got a nice mixture of all of those things. He kind of goes well in a lot of different settings.”

Steve Gregory is another defensive back who has seen – up close – what Talib brings to the table, on and off the field.

“He brings a lot of confidence to the group. He definitely brings some swagger,” Gregory said. “He’s a fun guy to be around, a good teammate, studies hard, puts in the preparation just as hard as anybody else on this team. He’s a great guy to be around and a guy that we’re glad that’s on our team.

“He definitely brings a good amount of energy to the game, not only on Sundays but every day in practice and in the meeting rooms and things like that. He brings that and it definitely spreads amongst the other guys.”

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