Aqib Talib doesn’t save his brightest moments for the times when the lights are on though it might seem that way.

The Patriots cornerback lit up the Gillette Stadium crowd Monday night by intercepting Tom Brady’s final pass and returning it for an uncontested touchdown. It was the signature moment of Talib’s noticeably productive training camp.

The former first-round pick will take on a vital role in his first full season with the Patriots. His potential to lock it down on the field will go further than anything else he does but teammates raved about him behind the scenes too.

Talib was tabbed as one of the Pats’ 10 offseason workout award winners which comes with the famous front-row parking spot. Even though it was the first offseason award Talib has ever received he began to develop a reputation as a leader last summer with the Buccaneers. His Pats teammates will back him up on that too as they haven’t seen any signs of the negative reputation Talib garnered in his first couple of seasons in the league.

“For him people will find whatever judgment they want” safety Devin McCourty said. “They can look at a lot of things that occurred in his career and take them for that but I love it because I’ve had the opportunity to watch him. He came in every day and worked his butt off and he deserved that parking spot. I think it speaks volumes for our younger guys to watch him out there practicing hard every play work out hard and you see the results. He’s out there making plays because of that.”

Talib gushed over the “honor” of the offseason award and doesn’t care much for his past reputation that might continue to follow him. His teammates and coaches are the only ones he has to impress.
“That’s for my team to know as long as my guys see the work” Talib said. “We all see each other work. We all recognize each other’s work. That’s all that matters to us.”

The performance in the shadows can carry over to game days. So far it’s worked in practice where Talib has swallowed up receivers like a vacuum. Interestingly when other cornerbacks rotate off the field even against the second-team offense Talib stayed out there as long as possible which could be for conditioning reasons. He presses and competes and during a lesser moment this week against Matthew Slater Talib whacked a Gatorade jug after getting beat for a touchdown.

This is what the Patriots like to see from their $5 million cornerback.