FOXBOROUGH — The play rolled out perfectly. Aqib Talib was on the wrong end of perfection.
During the Patriots’ 31-22 preseason-opening win over Philadelphia Friday, Talib got a good look at one of the Eagles’ sharpest sequences. In the first quarter, DeSean Jackson lined up one-on-one against Talib. The wide receiver leaned to the outside. Talib bit.
Once the New England cornerback shaded the wrong way, the fleet-footed Jackson punched the turbos. Talib could only watch as Michael Vick snapped a well-placed pass into Jackson’s mitts for a 47-yard touchdown.
“He went outside, went back inside, fast, ran away from me,” Talib said after Monday’s practice. “Vick threw a good ball inside. Couldn’t get to it. Touchdown.”
The day after the win, coach Bill Belichick praised the Eagles for calling and executing the play. Jackson ran the route crisply. Vick completed an accurate pass.
“That was a great throw, perfectly thrown,” Belichick said. “Great route by DeSean, and the ball was as on the money as it could possibly be. Overall, our defense wasn’t good enough any time you give up a play like that. But it was an exceptional play that we were close on, but obviously not close enough.”
Talib is a physical corner. The 6-foot-1-inch, 205-pounder can jostle receivers to throw off their timing. Smaller receivers such as the 5-10, 175-pound Jackson can give roughhouse cornerbacks headaches with their speed and elusiveness.
“I play a whole different way when I’ve got to go out against short, quick guys like that,” Talib said.
This week, when the Patriots hold joint practices with Tampa Bay, Talib will see time against two bigger receivers: Vincent Jackson (6-5, 230 pounds) and Mike Williams (6-1, 212 pounds).
“It’s a different look,” said the ex-Buccaneer. “I got a quick, fast receiver last week. More bigger, jump-ball receivers this week. It’s good work. It’s going to be practice, man. It’s going to be a good look. It will be a good challenge.”
Talib and his secondary mates could use some reinforcements. Devin McCourty is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. McCourty, the projected starting free safety, wore a red non-contact jersey Monday. Cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling didn’t practice because of injuries.
Buccaneers on tap
Tuesday will feature the first of three joint practice sessions with Tampa Bay. The teams will play at Gillette Stadium Friday in the second game of the preseason. The Patriots credited their week of practices with the Eagles as a benefit to their preseason progression.
“We had a good week down there with Philadelphia,” Belichick said before Monday’s practice. “Today is a day we can work on some things ourselves and try to get a few loose ends tied up, which we need to do. Then start tomorrow with three good days against Tampa. That should be another good experience for our team.”
Second-year Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano arrived in Tampa Bay via Rutgers. There are nine former Rutgers players on the New England roster.
“It will be great to see him and a lot of the guys,” cornerback Logan Ryan said. “He helped take me as a boy when I was 18 and helped me become the player I am today.”
Neither the Patriots nor Buccaneers plan to open much of their playbooks. New England hosts Tampa Bay in the regular season Sept. 22.
“With practicing, you’re getting a little feel for their personnel, the guys they have and the things they do well,” defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich said. “That will help with the evaluation process of the guys you’re going against and the different looks they’re going to bring.”
According to Philly.com, Eagles cornerback Cary Williams accused the Patriots of dirty play last week. Williams said he purposely picked a fight with Aaron Dobson during one of the practices.
“There was a reason behind [the fight], a reason behind the madness,” said Williams, an ex-Raven. “But at the end of the day, I still have to do things the way Coach wants me to do them, and I understand that, but it definitely would have been a different situation if it was in Baltimore. It wouldn’t have been a fun practice for the Patriots, I’ll tell you that.”
Williams and Dobson were booted from the session after the fight. When told of Williams’s intentions, Patriots guard Logan Mankins couldn’t understand why the cornerback would do such a thing.
“That makes no sense,” Mankins said. “Even if we were saying a lot of stuff, it makes no sense to do that. He wasted a full practice for himself.”
Mallett in action
Quarterback Ryan Mallett didn’t appear to have any limitations during Monday’s practice. Mallett left Friday’s game early because of what was termed a head injury.
Freeman brings change
The Buccaneers will bring a more traditional offense than the Chip Kelly-led one the Patriots saw in Philadelphia last week. Quarterback Josh Freeman is not as mobile as Vick. “You play an offense like Philly, you just have to be smart and know the quarterback who’s in the game,” Ninkovich said. “If you get too aggressive, a guy like No. 7 can make some plays with his feet. Any time you have a quarterback who’s more of a traditional pocket passer, you can just really focus on getting to the quarterback as opposed to worrying about pass rush lanes and opening things up for a guy who can run.”