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FOXBORO (CBS) – The safety position was one that gave the New England defense problems in 2011.
The pre-season cutting of veteran James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather left the Pats short-handed, and that was enhanced when Patrick Chung went down mid-season.
But this year should be different. The Patriots singed veteran Steve Gregory and drafted Tavon Wilson to add more depth alongside Chung and the returning James Ihedigbo.
Down at Gillette for Patriots Training Camp, Andy Gresh and Mike Flynn (in for Scott Zolak) broke down the Patriots’ depth at safety.
“Right now they’re already better at the safety spot because they added Steve Gregory, (drafted) Tavon Wilson, got Ihedigbo back so they have someone who knows the scheme,” said Gresh. “They have some depth there, but is it quality depth? They are much better at that position this year compared to last year.”
“They have a couple of guys there that, on paper, seem like upgrades from last year,” said Flynn. “I think how quickly Gregory adapts to the system, how well he plays here – It looks like he is going to be the starter.”
“I think the Gregory signing was big because you do have a seven-year guy that is established, that has made plays in the NFL. A guy that you would assume could step in and at least hold it down,” said Flynn.
“The question is going to be injuries,” added Flynn.
“As long as Chung stays healthy, they have the ability to rotate all those guys and make it work. If Chung goes down again, I think that is where the red flag goes up,” said Gresh. “Maybe that is where Gregory slides over and there isn’t as much as a drop off.”