Aqib Talib has come of age in the Patriots’ secondary

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FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots searched for a No. 1 cornerback for four more than four years after watching Asante Samuel sign a big-money deal with the Eagles in 2008, until acquiring Aqib Talib via trade last November.

Talib was a gamble, given his history of on- and off-field issues during his time with Tampa Bay, but he has become a leader in New England, seemingly thriving in the structured environment of the Patriots’ locker room and bringing some much-needed confidence and stability to a secondary that has had its share of struggles in recent seasons.

With three interceptions through the first three weeks of the season, Talib will face a tall challenge on Sunday night, when he’ll likely find himself lined up across from Falcons’ star receiver Julio Jones all night.

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