While “Do Your Job” has become a popular slogan all over the Northeast, the New England Patriots are using it in rather broad terms. Head coach Bill Belichick, for example, once pointed out that doing said job well is implied while not specifically states. Furthermore, the “job” that is being talked about can also take on many shapes. Just ask Myles Bryant.
The Patriots’ rookie defensive back has certainly done his job so far this season, or else he would not have earned increased playing time as the year went along. However, it did change quite a bit since he arrived as an undrafted free agent in spring: while originally listed as a cornerback, Bryant has also seen some snaps as a safety as Belichick mentioned during a media conference call this week.
“He started to show some versatility and do some things probably around the end of training camp and early into the season,” Belichick said. “We tried to evaluate him early at the corner position first, but between doing scout team and having depth in general on defense, he’s learned some other positions as well — more safety-type roles.”
Playing safety is nothing new for the 22-year-old, though. He also saw some time in the role during his college career at the University of Washington as well, serving as a starter at the position during his 2019 senior season: he regularly moved between free and box safety (565 and 160 snaps, respectively), and also aligned in the slot (130 snaps) and even as a perimeter cornerback at times (8 snaps).
“Myles, when you turn on his college tape, you can tell one thing: the guy is competitive and he can play football. Saw him in his junior year playing at the nickel spot, and then you saw him in his senior year playing at the safety role. So, we knew as soon as we got him he could do multiple roles,” said Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino about the youngest member of his position group.
As for Bryant’s ability to play more than one role, Pellegrino had a simple response.
“We’re all DBs, we’re all expected to play multiple positions,” he pointed out. “He fit right into that mentality that we were really looking for. It’s really no surprise that he’s been able to handle multiple roles — just like guys like Jon[athan] Jones, guys like Jason [McCourty] handle multiple roles throughout the defense.”
So far this year, the versatile defender has played most of his snaps in a safety alignment: he was employed as either a free or box safety on 51 of his snaps compared to 24 as a slot cornerback. But no matter where he lined up this season, he has carved out a niche for himself as a rotational member of the Patriots’ deep secondary. That alone is an accomplishment to be proud of given that his journey started as a college walk-on and also so him get unselected through seven draft rounds.
“He’s a smart kid, he’s picked up things well, and he’s shown that he can handle multiple positions and multiple roles and function effectively in them,” said Belichick about him before going back to his all-familiar mantra. “He’s done a good job for us.”