It's easy to look at the Patriots' boxscore from Sunday against the Bengals and say, "Hey! Patrick Chung had 12 tackles! He had a great game!"
But tackles do not define a player. However, Pat Chung did have a great game.
Even if Chung had, say, four tackles on the game. A much lower number, sure, but if you watched him play, you saw what kind of talent he has now and where he's destined to be: as one of the NFL's best safeties.
Chung is a ballhawk and reminds me of another great safety, Rodney Harrison. If you watched the first couple of series closely, Chung seemed to always be in the play, whether that be a pass over the middle or a rush to the outside. If he doesn't get the tackle, he's still somewhere in the action, shedding a block a block or slowing the ball-carrier down.
When it comes to his pass coverage, it's much harder to see those skills in a lot of cases. But did we ever see him really ever get burned yesterday? (And when I mean "burned," I mean the 2009 Patriots defensive back style of being "burned.") We're going to have to really see him get tested in the future to make a more-sure judgment about that.
Having Chung combined with Brandon Meriweather makes me very, very excited for the future of the safety corps for the New England Patriots. Both young, fast, hard-hitting safeties that can can change games in a heartbeat. If the young corners develop around them (Devin McCourty, Darius Butler, et all), this will be one of the best overall group of DBs in the NFL.