Tuesday's release of veteran cornerback Shawn Springs gives the Patriots' competition at that spot a new look. It figures to help third-year players Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley, as well as second-year man Kyle Arrington, as they work to carve out their niche on the team.
Prior to Springs' release, Wheatley was asked his thoughts on the cornerback group.
“I think we’re going to be good," he said. "I think if we keep our head on straight and we focus and we hit the film room and we all trust each other, and we all just play hard, I think we have a good core group of guys. We all get along well. We all understand it is a competition. We all understand that it’s going to be a battle for not even starting jobs, but jobs on the team. It makes us better. We all still joke around and hang out and stuff like that. We just understand this is what we signed up for.”
With Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler and Devin McCourty in the "lock" category, Wheatley, Wilhite and Arrington can solidify their standing with solid special teams play.
Arrington tied for the team-lead in special teams tackles last season, despite playing in just eight games. Both Wilhite and Wheatley are regular special teamers when active.
“The more you can do, the better. Bill has preached that and that’s the way it is around the league," Wheatley said. "If you can play multiple roles, multiple positions, you’re going to stick around for a while."