Thursday, October 3, 2013
Aqib Talib still looking to improve
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One could forgive New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib if he was feeling good about himself these days. He's tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with four, and has been perhaps the most indispensable player in a secondary that has played a big role in a strong defensive start in New England.
But despite his hot September, Talib said he isn't feeling any different leading into Week 5, when his team will take on the Bengals.
"I just go one week at a time, man," he said on Thursday. "Last week's last week, the future weeks are the future weeks. This week, we've got Cincinnati, so that's all I'm worried about."
Acquired in the middle of last season in a trade with the Buccaneers, Talib has emerged as the Patriots' top cornerback and perhaps their best man-to-man defender in several years.
And while it's easy to focus on the positive contributions he has made to the team, Talib said he's zoned in on areas where he can improve.
When asked what areas he's looking to build on, the 27-year old was coy.
"We kind of keep it to ourselves, you know. We don't want to expose that kind of information to everybody," he said lightheartedly, drawing laughs from reporters.
Talib eventually conceded that the defense is focused on capitalizing on opportunities wherever they present themselves, using Week 4 as an example.
"We came away with one turnover. We feel like we should've come away with more turnovers," he said. "We come away with one turnover, we feel like we should come away with three."
The Patriots have forced a turnover in 31 straight regular season games, a streak they'll look to continue on Sunday against a Bengals squad that has already relinquished the ball nine times this season.
One big test for the defense will be containing A.J. Green, a supremely talented wide receiver.
"Speed, man," Talib noted of what makes Green a difficult matchup. "Big catch radius. He can get down the field and get that ball."
Talib might draw the assignment of shadowing Green at-times on Sunday, just as he did from time-to-time against Julio Jones in Week 4. Jones and Green were selected just two picks apart in 2011 and have established themselves among the best young players in the league.
Despite their parallels, Talib doesn't draw comparisons between Green and Jones.
"I don't," he said. "I don't compare him to nobody. He's A.J. Green, he brings his own stuff to the table. He's got his own quarterback and he's just different."