Patriots second-year CB Jonathan Wilhite had a rough few weeks as it was.
The final straw went like this — Marques Colston beat Wilhite up the sideline, Drew Brees hit him on what looked like a fade-stop, then Colston turned it up inside and raced right past Wilhite for a 68-yard gain. Wilhite was toasted so thoroughly that he was far too off balance to have any realistic chance at making the tackle.
On the next series, Darius Butler took Wilhite’s place at left corner. And you have to seriously examine whether that was temporary, or permanent. Give Wilhite credit for facing the music, and the facts, after the game.
“Me, personally, I like winning,” Wilhite said. “So if I’m not on the field and we’re winning, I’m fine. Obviously, I wasn’t playing good. But if we win, I’m fine. This is the NFL, you’re not gonna win every play. But our goal is to try and compete, and they did better doing that than us tonight.”
Another play where Wilhite got undressed — the 38-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem, who beat the Patriot corner to the post. “I mean, yeah, he beat me,” Wilhite said. “He beat me. He got inside of me, he beat me. So I gotta watch film and see exactly what happened.”
Wilhite emphasized that he thought some of the issues in the secondary were mental, and thus, correctable. The question now is how much of the solution Wilhite will be, and whether this is the opening for the coaches to move the rookie Butler into a more prominent role.
“We gotta watch film,” Wilhite said. “You may think things went wrong one way, then watch the film, and things went the other way. A lot of it was us, and New Orleans capitalized on it.”