Chung: Coach on the field

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Safety Patrick Chung was asked after Tuesday's training camp practice to pinpoint one area he wants to improve in 2012.

His answer: "Being a coach on the field."

That ties in to one of the themes of the offseason, better team-wide communication. For Chung, the "coaching" comes in the defensive backfield, where breakdowns in 2011 led to too many big plays surrendered.

"You have to have a coach on the field," said Chung, who enters his fourth NFL season. "[Coaches] give us the information and we have to execute it. It's good to have a couple guys out there that can think like coaches, and direct traffic, so everybody else is on the same page."

Of all the safeties on the Patriots' roster, no one has been on the roster longer than Chung. That further puts him into a coach-on-the-field type of role, which he said James Sanders carried out in recent years, helping him.

Through the first five practices of 2012 training camp, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Chung has mostly lined up next to Steve Gregory, the free-agent signing from the Chargers. He joked that his favorite part of working with the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Gregory is that he has two first names.

"I think that's awesome," Chung chuckled, before adding: "He's smart. He's learning and he's helping me learn. He's telling me some things, [this is] his [seventh] year in the league, that he knows and I don't. So it's definitely helping me."

Asked about rookie safety Tavon Wilson, Chung said he feels like he's also picking things up quickly.

"We're all trying to get better, and make everybody else better," he said.