Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 6/12/13

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16: Devery Henderson #19 of the New Orleans Saints runs for yards after the catch against Adrian Wilson #24 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 45-14. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Many of Adrian Wilson‘s teammates have praised the veteran safety for his work ethic and leadership skills out on the field. It’s easy to see why — Wilson takes football very seriously. Wilson may lead by example, but he’s also trying to pick up the intricacies of the Patriots’ defense from his teammates. “I think it’s a good mix [of players],” Wilson said. “Guys plays hard. Guys that have been in the system, so they make it a lot easier on me. Guys have been in the system, they know the system. Just being in the classroom with those guys, being able to sit beside Steve [Gregory], getting to sit beside Devin [McCourty]. Those guys know the playbook. So being able to ask questions to them and not put so much pressure on the coach.” McCourty has been on the sideline with a shoulder injury, but he’s still been able to help Wilson out. By the time the season starts, McCourty and Wilson may be playing next to one another on the starting defense. “He’s a good player,” Wilson said about McCourty. “He does a lot of different things. Plays a lot of different positions. And I think he’s very smart. He’s been in the system for a while. Just to be able to lean on him is definitely a plus.” Wilson too has been playing some different positions on defense. The past two days he’s been in a hybrid safety/linebacker role in what looks to be the nickel defense. He’s playing between Gregory and Tavon Wilson at safety and Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower at linebacker. “I try to stress myself as much as I can,” Wilson said. “Just try to get as much as I can down in the playbook, different positions on the field that you have to know. Just being able to get those adjustments down without any mistakes.” Wilson said the team has been doing more on-field work than work in the classroom. He communication is better on-field since it’s more hands on and against live competition. “Yeah, I think on the field, the communication is a lot better than it is actually in the class room,” Wilson said. “You can’t actually call the calls out in the classroom as you can on the field. I think the field work is a lot different than the classroom work.” The second safety position is likely up in the air for the 2013 season. Gregory, Tavon Wilson, Adrian Wilson and even rookie Duron Harmon, who’s been on the sideline with an injury, will all be fighting to play next to McCourty Week 1.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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