Great fluff piece by Grantland.
For most of this season, Aqib Talib has been the best player on the Patriots’ defense. Before missing New England’s past three games with an injury, he might have been the best cornerback in the league. Yesterday was his first game back, and Smith didn’t waste much time letting him know exactly what type of night it would be.
There are a lot of players for whom this type of poo would seem some combination of dirty and excessive, but for Smith, it has always felt one part insanity, two parts strategy. Watch Talib in that GIF. He loses his mind. The game was a few minutes old, and Smith had his feet up on an ottoman in Talib’s head. Belichick even had to take him off the field for a handful of plays to calm him down. There was another skirmish later on, but the damage was done. And the guy with the gold “C” on his chest had sent a very clear message to his very young team that the Panthers didn’t come to kiss anyone’s ring last night.