Julian Edelman has been quiet in his third year.
Hasn’t seen much action at wide receiver, where he made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2009.
Was injured for a spell and missed time, just like in each of the previous two seasons.
Hadn’t really done much to build off his kick and punt return duties, a role which he grew into toward the end of last year, when he was among the league leaders in punt returns.
He could be forgiven, therefore, if he felt thankful just to have a job in the NFL.
So, when he saw a few snaps at nickel corner in mop-up time last week against the Jets, it appeared to be simply out of desperation after an already-depleted Patriots secondary lost starting left cornerback Devin McCourty to a shoulder injury.
But then there was Edelman in the Patriots secondary again on the first series of the game against Kansas City on Monday night. He played there throughout the evening – as well as on special teams – helping ignite a lackluster Patriots defense with his buoyant enthusiasm.