On paper, Adrian Phillips is listed as a defensive back on the New England Patriots roster: No. 21, clocking in at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds.
None of that really matters on the field because, as inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo put it Tuesday, Phillips is a “linebacker at heart.”
Phillips was a standout performer for a new-look Patriots defense in Sunday’s win against the Miami Dolphins. The 28-year-old free-agent acquisition helped fill the void in the Patriots' back seven created by players opt-outs. Sure, he definitely helped fill the whole created by the departure of safety Patrick Chung.