Julian Edelman has been working at wide receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner in the Patriots’ training camp, but he hasn’t been spotted playing defense.
So does that mean the experiment with Edelman at cornerback is over? That’s something Edelman won’t say.
“I don’t know if that’s team policy,” Edelman said, via the Boston Globe.
That’s an answer that Patriots coach Bill Belichick will surely appreciate. And Belichick would also surely appreciate it if the Patriots’ secondary is deep enough this season that he doesn’t have to turn Edelman into a moonlighting defensive back again. It’s great that Edelman is capable of switching to the other side of the ball in a pinch, but Edelman playing cornerback is like a dog walking on his hind legs: It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all. The Ravens, in particular, had a lot of success picking on Edelman during the AFC Championship Game, and the Patriots will be better suited if Edelman can focus on offense and special teams.
What Edelman will say is that he’s planning to play wherever the team needs him.
“I’m just going to go out there and do whatever I have to do to get myself better to try to help this team win ballgames,” Edelman said. “I’m sure there’s other guys doing the same thing, and competition, it makes you better. If you’re afraid to compete then you’re in the wrong business.”
Edelman may end up competing for playing time on defense, but for now it appears that he’s going to compete as a receiver and a returner.