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Patrick Chung: Plenty rides on the young safety

Third-year man not thinking about last season.

In a whirlwind preseason for the Patriots, many starters have come and gone – especially on the defensive side.



But the secondary has seen perhaps most drastic changes over the past week or so, with veteran safeties Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders getting the boot, and Darius Butler following them soon after.



One player who certainly didn’t – and shouldn’t – have to worry about his job is Patrick Chung.



The Pats have a few obvious leaders on the team – Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, to name a few. But Chung, going into his third year, is looking to make that leap.



The Pats have bolstered their defensive line, but still look somewhat vulnerable against the pass. That’s why Chung’s importance to the team has never been higher. Guys like Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown show promise, but they’re nowhere near experienced enough to be heavily relied upon.

Chung is.



“Patrick is one of our young players that has really worked hard – [he’s a] very diligent worker,” Bill Belichick said recently. “You really can’t outwork Chung. He’s here early, he stays late, he’s in top condition, he can play all the plays you need him to play. He’s been very productive for us in the kicking game [and] defensively.”



Last season ended on a sour note for Chung. He took the blame for the botched fake punt that led to a Jets touchdown before halftime of the AFC Divisional playoffs. But Belichick had enough trust in Chung then to allow him to make that call out there, and that shouldn’t change now.



That's all in the past now, as Chung keeps his blinders on tight.



“I’m not thinking about anything last season," he said. "I’m not thinking about anything yesterday. I’m trying to win today, and think about tomorrow, tomorrow.”