New England Patriots: Patrick Chung is Bill Belichick’s beautiful mistake

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Patrick Chung
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Patrick Chung /

Usually once a player leaves the New England Patriots you don’t see them return. That wasn’t the case with Patrick Chung.

You don’t usually hear the word mistake when it comes to the New England Patriots. They are known for being the best team in the league so mistakes essentially never happen. Head coach Bill Belichick is known for his spectacular ability to know if a player has the “it” factor that will make him a good NFL player. This just makes the case of Patrick Chung even more interesting.

The Patriots drafted Chung out of Oregon in the second round of the 2009 draft. He had a phenomenal second season as he recorded a career-high 3 interceptions and 96 total tackles. After that, he couldn’t maintain that level of play, and the Patriots ended up letting him go.

He went to the Philadelphia Eagles where he struggled and never seemed to fit in. Fellow safety Duron Harmon felt that his experience being cut motivated Chung.

"“He didn’t like the idea of getting cut. It’s something he never wanted to go through again. You think you’re going somewhere for three years and, all of a sudden, you don’t have the job you thought you had.”"

Chung 2.0

Chung’s second stint with the Patriots has been much more successful. Chung has become a backbone in the secondary alongside Devin McCourty. Even in games this season where he came in as a reserve Chung is able to make an impact. In this season’s game against the Atlanta Falcons Chung recorded six tackles and was excellent on special teams. This year he had the highest solo tackle total of his career with 71 tackles, and also had an interception and two fumble recoveries.

The veteran safety’s play isn’t going unnoticed. Recently Belichick admitted that he made a mistake with Patrick Chung:

"“He has a lot of skills. I mean, we recognized it when we had him the first time when we drafted him. We took the guy in the second round, but it just – for a combination of reasons – I’d say a big part of it [being] mistakes that I personally made. It didn’t work out the way that we hoped it would, but we got it right the second time.More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win“I think we’ve been able to utilize him. I wish we had been able to do that when we initially got him, but it didn’t work out that way. Like I said, I think we finally got it right."

You don’t usually hear that from the sure-fire Hall of Fame coach. He even went as far to say that Chung was “one of the best players in the league.”

A tough job coming up

When it was the Jaguars Chung was going up against their tight end Mercedes Lewis now he is going up against Eagles Zach Ertz. Chung is only  5’11” so defending these large tight ends would be impossible for lesser players.

Patrick Chung has a simple mindset when it comes to defending some of the largest players in the league.

"“Not thinking about how big they are. I go just out there and play them. It’s one-on-one — either you’re going to beat me or I’m going to beat you,” Chung said, as transcribed by CBS Boston. “I’m just trying to do my best. If you beat me, then you earned it. I’m trying to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing to help the team.”"

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With the Eagles having a high powered offense, the New England Patriots will need Chung to do his job and stop Ertz on February 4th. If Patrick Chung keeps playing like he has been this season it should be a breeze.