It’s been five seasons since Aqib Talib was a Patriot, but Bill Belichick said the 32-year-old cornerback remains as dangerous as he’s ever been. Talib and the Rams will face New England in the Super Bowl on Feb 3.
The Patriots acquired Talib, a former first-round pick of the Buccaneers, in a midseason trade in 2012. He played the rest of that year and 2013 for New England. He signed with Denver as a free agent and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015.
The Rams traded a fifth-round pick for him in March. He missed eight games this season with a high ankle sprain that required surgery and landed him on injured reserve. He returned on Dec. 2. The Rams are 9-2 with him in the lineup. Talib and Marcus Peters give the Rams a big, talented and experienced tandem at corner.
“He’s a very talented player. He and Peters on the other side are great corners,” Belichick said. “They can match up against any receiver. Big, fast, quick, savvy, both those guys can cover anybody.”
Belichick said their ability to cover is only part of the concern. Talib has 35 career interceptions including one this season.
“They’re both very good with their ball skills. Talib has great hands. He makes tough catches. If you make a mistake around him, it’s not an incompletion, it’ll be going the other way,” he said. “He’s a very instinctive guy, as is Peters. They can recognize routes, combinations. They have a really good feel for the pass rush. They know when the quarterbacks can’t hold the ball, they’re on their guys. They’re great corners. They don’t just cover their guy. You don’t just have to worry about them intercepting the ball, but them intercepting the ball and running it back for a touchdown.”