FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In recent NFL history, few cornerbacks have experienced Ty Law's success. In his 15-year career, including a decade in New England, Law won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
The 38-year old, who retired in 2010, made an appearance at the Patriots' final practice of training camp on Friday. Law met with reporters to talk about one of his business ventures -- an indoor trampoline park being developed in Warwick, R.I. -- but also took time to chat about football.
With Law in the fold, the Patriots secondary had its best years early in the Bill Belichick era. On Friday, Law provided some tips that help explain the success of that unit. Together, they might become the "Ty Law's Guide to Success as a Defensive Back:"
Share a beer with your teammates. "Stay on the film and work with your safeties. That’s one thing that most defensive backs, cornerbacks don’t do. They don’t get together enough. I remember when I played, we got together and we went out and ate together. We watched film together. We’d go out at somebody’s house. We’d get a case of beer, we drank a couple of beers, and we watched film. I mean that’s what you do, and it builds camaraderie. If you can trust somebody off the field, you can trust them on the field. That’s what we did, and that’s how we were able to be successful.”
Curry favor with the officials. “You go out and give them one of these: ‘Hey man, how you doing? Hope it works out for you.’ You schmooze them up a little bit. It’s like trying to get a girl and buying them a drink. You schmooze them up and tell them how nice they look. You tell them ‘You look good in those in pinstripes.’ So they can give you a call when you try to go choke someone up at the line of scrimmage. That’s what I would do personally.”
Make friends with the best of them. "I used to call Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders when I was playing and I was at the top of my game, just to try to see what they did to this guy, what do you think of this guy, and I think that’s the mark of someone wanting to get better. Just because you made it, that doesn’t mean you know everything."
It's all about swagger. "It’s all about swagger when you’re playing defensive back. If you get beat as a defensive back early, you have to expect for them to come at you often. To the best of your ability, you want to nip that in the bud and show swagger right off the rip. Let’s say they did get you, just make sure they don’t get you again the next time. Do whatever is in your power to say ‘You know what, you’re going to stay off of me. I’m going to make you throw the ball over there.’ And then the guy over there says ‘Hey, you aren’t going to throw at me, you better throw it at him.’"
Create friendly competition. "We used to have our things like ‘I bet you they’d throw more balls at you than they will me.’ You just have to compete among yourselves while you’re out there, within the confines of the defense, but having fun with it. We used to bet who would get the most breakups, who is going to cause the fumble, who will get the most picks, things like that. We always did it within the team concept and we made it fun. But if you go out there nervous, feeling like ‘I’m going to get beat’ or ‘If I don’t make this play Coach is going to be mad at me.’ You shouldn’t be worried about the coach. (You should say) ‘I’m worried about you guys being mad at me before I’m worried about Bill.' That’s the way we felt as a secondary, that we weren’t going to let each other down."
Ensure your safeties have your back. “Any time you can have a communication with your safety, that’s going to make you a lot more comfortable as a cornerback. When you’re out there, a lot of times it’s just you and your receiver. I used to be like ‘Rodney (Harrison)' or ‘Lawyer (Milloy), I see something, take my back.’ You can’t put a price on that type of comfort. If I guess wrong, guess what? Rodney’s going to make that play, Lawyer’s going to make that play. You have a lot of safeties who are not willing to do that."