Richard Sherman, LeGarrette Blount go at it on Twitter over league’s best CB

Richard-Sherman-interviewRichard Sherman will not be satisfied until every human being on earth thinks he is the best cornerback in the NFL. That determination is what makes him an All-Pro, but unfortunately he is never going to get his way. There will always be people like former New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount who have their own opinion.

Earlier this week, Blount congratulated Aqib Talib on signing a monster contract with the Denver Broncos. In doing so, Blount tweeted that Talib deserved ever penny because he is the best defensive back in the league. Of course, Sherman couldn’t let that go. The debate took off from there.

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Aqib Talib says Patriots misreported his hip injury

Aqib Talib PatriotsWe all know Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots love to screw with injury reports. How many straight years did we see Tom Brady listed on the injury report with a right shoulder injury? On Wednesday, Aqib Talib shed some light on the infamous antics.

In his first meeting with reporters since signing with the Denver Broncos, Talib was asked about the hip injury that supposedly hampered him at various points throughout the 2013 season. As Lindsay Jones of USA Today Sports pointed out, Talib denied ever having a hip injury and said it was actually his quad that was hurt. He added that the Pats have their “own way” of reporting injuries.

Someone is lying, and it could be either side. Talib undoubtedly had to convince the Broncos that his hip would not be an issue in order to get them to offer him a $57 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. Claiming he never even had a hip injury would be one way to do that.

Hip injuries are some of the worst cornerbacks can have. The Patriots might have listed Talib with a hip injury all season long to make opponents think he would be vulnerable. Or, if you want to take it a step further, they could have been thinking ahead and trying to make him less enticing as a free agent. The latter theory is probably the least likely to be true.

Either way, no one will be surprised to hear the Patriots being accused of injury report shenanigans.

Broncos reportedly asked Wes Welker before signing Aqib Talib


Aqib Talib leaving the New England Patriots this offseason and signing with the Denver Broncos is irony at its finest. Less than two months ago, Talib was knocked out of the AFC Championship game early in the second quarter when Wes Welker took him out on a crossing route over the middle of the field. The two are now teammates.

Talib’s exit from the game tipped the scales completely in Denver’s favor and gave the Patriots virtually no shot at stopping Peyton Manning. Bill Belichick later called the rub play from Welker “deliberate” and one of the worst plays he has ever seen. Before the Broncos invested more guaranteed money on Talib than any cornerback in NFL history has ever received, they were sure to check with their slot receiver.

Reporters asked Talib about the hit from Welker, which FOX Sports NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira said was legal, on Wednesday.

“Wes is a good friend of mine,” he said, via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe. “I watched the play a thousand times and I can tell you he didn’t do it on purpose.”

Welker said that he used to run the exact same play when he was with New England. Even if Talib was upset with Welker over the play, there are very few feuds $57 million can’t fix.

Aqib Talib reportedly wants to be paid like ‘top-of-the-market’ corner

Aqib Talib PatriotsThe New England Patriots got a bargain last offseason when Aqib Talib agreed to remain with the team under a one-year, $5 million deal. Talib has reestablished himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league since being traded to New England from Tampa Bay, though his history of off-field problems is still a concern.

From the sound of it, there will be no discount for the Patriots this year. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported on Tuesday that Talib is looking to be paid as a “top-of-the-market” cornerback in free agency. He may be the best remaining player at the position after Brent Grimes signed his four-year, $32 million extension with the Miami Dolphins.

There is no question that Talib changes New England’s defense when he’s on the field. His ability to shadow and shut down top opposing receivers allows the Patriots to focus their efforts elsewhere when he’s in the game. When he is not (like in the AFC Championship Game), their secondary gets picked apart.

In addition to his history of off-field issues, teams may be concerned about the hip injury that hampered Talib at various points during the 2013 season. Hip injuries and defensive backs are a bad combination, but it is a positive sign that Talib did not need offseason surgery.

The Patriots have until next Tuesday to work out a deal with Talib before he hits free agency. Howe speculates that they could look to sign him to a three-year contract in the range of $7 million per season, but that would be shy of Grimes’ deal. Talib will likely be looking for something comparable to the $16 million in guaranteed money Grimes got from the Dolphins.

Talib remaining in New England would make sense for both sides. He has fit in with Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme perfectly and given the Patriots the shutdown corner they have been lacking since Asante Samuel left town. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to get paid like the elite player that he is.

Wes Welker says Patriots run same play he injured Aqib Talib on

Aqib Talib Wes WelkerNew England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not shy about the fact that he did not appreciate Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib in the AFC Championship Game. Belichick called the hit “deliberate” and said it was one of the worst plays he has ever seen. The NFL later determined that it was legal, though there has been plenty of debate over whether it was necessary.

[WATCHWes Welker drills Aqib Talib over the middle]

On Tuesday, Welker basically called Belichick a hypocrite. The Denver Broncos receiver told reporters that he ran the same play with the Patriots.

“It’€™s a rub play that everybody runs,” he said, per WEEI.com’s Mike Petriglia. “It’€™s one of those deals where you try to get a rub on that guy and really, if you can get him to go over the top of you, the more separation the other receiver will have. That’€™s what I tried to do to get Demaryius a little more open and unfortunately we collided.

“We ran the same play (in New England).”

While I don’t think Welker intended to injure Talib, the contact did seem a bit excessive to me and a tad early. I believe that the Patriots and plenty of other teams run similar plays, but I’m certainly not buying the whole “unfortunately we collided” thing. Welker intended to hit Talib, even if he wasn’t trying to hurt him.

Bill Belichick rips Wes Welker over hit on Aqib Talib

Aqib Talib Wes WelkerOne of the most important plays of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday came in the first quarter when Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker collided with New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib. Welker cracked Talib on a pass over the middle that was intended for Demaryius Thomas. Talib left the game and did not return.

[WATCH: Wes Welker drills Aqib Talib over the middle]

Many questioned the hit and wondered if it was an illegal pick by Welker, but replays showed that Welker actually hit Talib right at the moment the ball hit Thomas’ hands. Bill Belichick did not see it that way, and he uncharacteristically blasted Welker for the play on Monday morning.

“That was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib,” Belichick said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “(Welker made) no attempt to get open. One of the worst plays I’ve seen. I’ll let the league handle discipline on that play. … That’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”

As Howe noted, Belichick’s comments came during his opening statements and not in response to a question from a reporter. It’s extremely rare for the Pats coach to talk like that about a specific play or player, so you know he had to have been steaming about it.

Talib held Thomas to just four catches and 41 yards in New England’s 34-31 comeback win over the Broncos in Week 12. After he left Sunday’s game, Thomas abused Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and ended up with seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. The loss of Talib was obviously huge for New England’s defense.

As for Welker and Belichick, it is no secret that their relationship deteriorated quickly over the course of the 2012 season. Belichick tried to phase Welker out by starting Julian Edelman over him at the beginning of the season, but injuries resulted in Welker having another monster year. Had the play with Talib involved a different former Patriot, Belichick probably would not have had such a strong reaction.

Aqib Talib supposedly told reporter ‘get out my face motherf—er’ after game

Aqib Talib cigar

Aqib Talib isn’t exactly the friendliest character around. He does interviews and talks to reporters, but he may not have been in the mood to talk with the media after he was knocked out of the AFC Championship Game in the second quarter and watched his team lose 26-16 to the Denver Broncos.

After the game, New York Post NFL reporter Bart Hubbuch tweeted about an interesting confrontation he had with Talib:

People usually don’t say “get out my face, motherf—er” unless they’re prompted in some way, so it’s possible that Hubbuch is leaving out a detail. Who knows? Maybe he jumped into Talib’s face before Talib was ready to speak. Or maybe Talib was just so upset he went off on Hubbuch because he really didn’t want to talk to the media. After the way his season ended, who can really blame him for being upset?

Also see: Aqib Talib knocked out of the game by Wes Welker