Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 12/20/12

He was a surprise first round draft pick and even more of a surprise in his rookie campaign. His 7 interceptions in 2010 turned Devin McCourty from late first round reach to Pro-Bowl cornerback. However, in 2011, things went sour for McCourty as teams instead of shying away from him, targeted him with no mercy. A better fit in zone concepts, McCourty struggled in man to man situations and lost his confidence forcing Bill Belichick to use safety help over the top of the defense. Late in 2011, the Patriots experimented with McCourty at safety with solid results. In 2012, McCourty started at cornerback but injuries forced him to move to safety, and his comfort with having the action in front of him fit his good zone skills. Also, his experience playing corner gives him the advantage in guarding tight ends and being the 4th corner when needed.   The biggest difference is his playmaking ability, it seemed at corner turning for the ball was an issue and he couldn’t hold onto easy interceptions. At safety, McCourty can see the play in front of him and read the routes and make a clean break on the ball. In the past two weeks against Houston and San Francisco he made spectacular end zone interceptions that were what we call “Ed Reed plays.” McCourty is happy with move and it looks more like he’ll be staying put at safety for good reason. McCourty talked about changes in the secondary that seemed to have improved the unit. “I think some of it has been experience, where guys have been able to play, and then some of the changes we made have helped us, and just going out and executing,” McCourty said. “I think at the beginning of the season, in different situations we just didn’t execute as well as we needed to. We had guys positioned, we understood what we were doing, but it just came down to making a play,” according to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe. “I think we definitely felt like we needed to play better, without a doubt,” McCourty said. “I think the Seattle game, really we just needed to make a couple more plays, and no matter what we could have won that game. “I think when you play in the secondary you understand how important it is that if you make a couple plays and then you let up one bad play in the fourth quarter, you understand that’s a bad play and it’s almost like it ruins your whole performance. I think we have a good understanding of how to play consistent now and it’s all about trying to make every play that comes our way and not giving up big plays.” “I think when you go out there and play well you gain confidence, but we also have an understanding that it all starts each week in practice,” McCourty said. “If we fall off that a little bit I think we’ll be a team that will go out there and struggle in the game. So just trying to stay ready and prepare each week have been helping us improve.”     var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});

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