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Lots of mixing and matching in Patriots secondary

06.02.14 at 12:38 pm ET
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The acquisitions of cornerback Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner — as well as the drafting of defensive back Jemea Thomas and the continued maturation of youngsters like Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan — means there will be a lot of personnel changes in the New England secondary this year, a stark contrast from the last few seasons where they were pretty stable.

More than many other positions, defensive backs have to learn how to play together. It’s a process, one that can take “awhile,” as noted by Revis last Friday. Add to that the fact that Browner will have to sit for the first four games of the season because of a violation of the league’s policy on PEDs, and it means that the members of the New England secondary will have to take advantage of every rep that’s afforded to them over the course of the spring and summer months in an attempt to learn how to play alongside each other as fast as possible.

To that end, the Patriots were working several different secondary combinations in their OTA practice session on Friday. Expect more of the same going forward as the Patriots mix and match personnel in hopes of finding the right chemistry.

“Every individual is different,” said cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer when asked about working new faces into the mix. “Each case is probably going to be a little bit different, so you just kind of work with, ‘What was their experience? What do they have here? How does it fit into what we’re doing?’ You just take it individual by individual case. Our ultimate goal is to make each individual the best possible player they can be to help the team. We’ll ask them to do numerous different things and as we build that way and the individuals get better, then the group gets better [and] then the team gets better.”

“It could take awhile,’€ Revis said when asked about the bonding/meshing process with the rest of the defensive backs. “€œAs of right now, we’€™re in OTA’€™s, and this is the time when we can glue together — not just as a secondary, but as a defense. Also as a team as well.

“€œWe’€™re all in this together. Everybody is working hard, and that’€™s what we’€™re all trying to do. We’€™re trying to get prepared for the season and use these OTA’€™s as something for us to build toward the season.”€

By the time Browner returns, he and Revis will likely be sitting atop the depth chart at corner. But when it comes to getting everyone ready, the spring and summer months are geared toward getting as many different defensive backs reps alongside

“It’s a combination of trying to get everyone to work together. We’re going to ask guys to do different things. We’ll move guys around, ask them to do different techniques, different spots,” Boyer said. “There’s going to be numerous groups of guys in and out. We’ve always got to be ready, because if a guy’s not there, you’ve got to play someone else. We’re going to cover that from different angles.”

Read More: Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Duron Harmon, Josh Boyer
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