If the Patriots are going to silence Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson in Sunday’s season opener cornerback Aqib Talib likely will have to lead the way.

And leadership the Pats have learned has been a strong suit for Talib. The corner worked his tail off throughout the spring and summer to become better acquainted with the team’s defense as he aimed to make the full run in the offseason program work to his advantage.

“Very very happy with his work and his ethic that he comes in as far as this guy studies film” defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “He really practices hard. He competes every day. He’s a good example on the field for those guys who are coming into the program to get in behind him and follow along. It’s been good to have him through training camp.”

Talib of course should get his fair share of matchups with Johnson who on Monday said no one on the Patriots can cover him despite the fact that for one Johnson has never played against Talib and second Johnson still thought Patrick Chung was a Patriot.

But that’s for Sunday. As for now Talib is just happy that he has been able to capitalize on a full year in the system.