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Adrian Wilson finds his place

6/13/2013

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There's no older or more experienced defensive player on the Patriots roster than safety Adrian Wilson, but in his first season in New England, the 33-year-old is leaning on his new (and younger) teammates that have years under their belt within this system.

"Guys play hard, guys have been in this system, so they're making it a lot easier on me," he said Wednesday when speaking of the secondary. "Those guys have already been in the system, they know the system, just being in the classroom with those guys, [it's nice to be able to] sit beside Steve [Gregory], sit beside Devin [McCourty], those guys, they know the playbook so being able to ask questions of them and not put so much pressure on the coach."

Wilson, whose imposing 6-foot-3 frame is hard to miss on the practice field, figures to be in the mix to start alongside McCourty, who converted to safety last season due to injuries to both Patrick Chung and Gregory. He's spent much of this offseason rehabbing from a shoulder surgery, but though Wilson hasn't had much on-field experience with McCourty, he knows his strengths as a player.

"He's a good player," Wilson said. "He does a lot of different things, he plays a lot of different positions, and he's very smart. Like I said, he's been in the system for a while, so to be able to lean on him is definitely a plus."

The Patriots are due to practice on Thursday for the final time as a team before breaking for the summer, but Wilson, who originally entered the league in 2001, has learned during his career that the offseason is no time to coast through.

"I try to stress myself as much as I can, just try to get as much as I can down in the playbook, different positions on the field that you have to know," he mentioned on Wednesday of his offseason work right now. "Just being able to get those adjustments down without any mistakes."

As far as expectations for the season go, Wilson is focused on familiarizing himself with his new teammates and putting in the time to do his part.

"I just think everybody is trying to learn each other, I think that's a pretty good expectation," Wilson said. "I'm just trying to work hard."