NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas
“We’ve done that in the past. It’s not a big thing.”
Those were the words of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when asked about the defense’s three-cornerback, one-safety display against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.
“I think more of that look came against their three-receiver sets,” Belichick added. “So our third corner was with their third receiver. Yeah, it’s just a different matchup for us.”
It was a different matchup for the Patriots secondary. It allowed the defense to maintain a 4-3 front, and it allowed the cornerbacks to ship out in a “nickel” alignment – even though only four defensive backs were on the field at once.
The single-safety personnel grouping was showcased for just six plays in New England’s 23-3 win over Tampa Bay, but its implementation alone was enough to draw attention.