Sunday, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco ripped New England for 240 passing yards and three touchdowns in Talib’s absence. Clearly, he was missed. 

Still, Talib’s past became too heavy to ignore in his former home. His baggage was always there, even if he showed growth along the way. Trading a player with 18 career interceptions at the time, in addition to a seventh-round choice in the upcoming draft for a fourth-round pick this spring, probably was best for all involved.

Sometimes, it takes pressing the reset button to find focus. Sometimes, a change just works. 

“I don’t want to comment on that, because I don’t know the inner-workings of the Buccaneers and what all went on there during his time there,” Mark Mangino, Talib’s former coach at Kansas, told, when asked if Tampa Bay made a mistake in letting Talib go.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Greg Schiano. I think he’s an outstanding coach. I think he has a structured atmosphere. It’s well organized. ... It’s probably a situation where it was in the interest of both the Bucs and the Patriots to make that trade.”

Mangino can recall an earlier time when it seemed Talib made strides with Tampa Bay. Last summer, during training camp, the former coach spent a day with the Buccaneers and heard updates from several voices within the organization. He gathered positive reviews from many angles: Trainers, assistants and strength coaches told him Talib showed a positive work ethic and displayed strong leadership traits. 

Mangino felt good after his visit. He assumed his former player was well on his way. Then came, as the former coach calls it, a “bump in the road." Then came Talib’s suspension. 
“Certainly, I felt bad about what had happened at Tampa Bay,” said Mangino, who lives in Naples, Fla. “But I also knew that New England was an organization where they have a lot of structure, discipline. They like cerebral players. They’re team-oriented as well. Bill Belichick really does a good job of reaching out to guys like Aqib and getting them to play well and do good things.

"For him, it was a fresh start, which he probably needed. I think he fits nicely with the Patriots and what they do on defense and the way they run their operation there. He likes structure and discipline.” 

Did Talib have regrets about the way his Tampa Bay career ended? 

“We talked about it,” said Mangino, who coached Talib in Lawrence from 2004 to '07. “The only thing I would say is that, sure, he was remorseful. He’s sorry that it happened. He told me that he’ll learn from it.

“The thing that I told him is, ‘Now that you’re going to New England, go to work every day. Bust your butt like you did,’ because he loves football. He’ll practice every day if you want him to. If he’s not at work, (I told him) just kind of lay low and relax. Just enjoy life and just relax.”

Talib found life to be rewarding after a move the the Northeast. As far as rebounds go, this was a keeper: A player was paired with a team which coveted him, and both benefited from the fresh start.

Where will Talib go from here? That remains unclear. But even though he found success elsewhere, his former franchise has little reason to look back.

After all, sometimes, a change just works. 

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at