Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Patriots-mccourty-strips
Count this youngster as a believer in the Patriot Way. Devin McCourty, who has endured his share of criticism and praise as he’s learned the ways of a Bill Belichick-coached secondary, had high praise for his coach Sunday night. The Patriots steamrolled the Dolphins, 28-0, setting up a first-round bye in which the team will rest up and look to continue the development that Belichick and his coaches have been working on all season. When McCourty was asked what was next for the Patriots, the defensive back sounded as though he had no worries that the Patriots would be prepared. “We’ll see,” he said. “Coach [Belichick] will come in here tomorrow, and he never falls short of having a bunch of things that we need to fix. He’ll go over the film. “I think since I’ve been here, there’s no coach that gets you better prepared to go into the playoffs. “So I think us as a team, we just need to be ready to come in here tomorrow and focus on whatever coach Belichick has for us and get those things done, because if we get them done, we’ll be in good shape.” McCourty and his unit, the secondary, get to see perhaps more than any part of the team how players are shepherded into distinct roles. Without tons of raw talent at safety and cornerback, Belichick uses specific schemes and techniques to make the most of his players’ abilities. The continued focus on each player fulfilling his role, and the unit getting the most out of itself, has turned around the Patriots’ defensive efforts this year. Whereas the Patriots’ defense allowed oodles of points and long pass plays earlier this season, the defense has evolved to the point where it can consistently make stops, force turnovers and limit point totals. McCourty said that improvement will have to continue in the playoffs. “Going into the playoffs, we won’t be the only team going to the next level,” he said. “I think everyone knows once you go into the playoffs, teams step it up a notch, so we’re going to have to do our part and try to step it up and match teams going into the playoffs. If we keep improving and getting better, we’ll be able to get there.” It’s not a new tactic for the Patriots, who always aim to peak around the time of the playoffs, no matter what happens earlier in the season. Belichick has built his success on getting his team clicking at the right time. It sounds like McCourty is buying in, and that’s not a bad sign this time of year.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Harbaugh to Michigan speculation building

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Marshall: Bears need to gel and do some kumbaya

Ray McDonald investigated for possible sexual assault

Red Sox appear content with rotation despite lack of true ace

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Iguodala gets technical for mocking Conley travel

Bo Pelini takes shot at Nebraska during introductory presser

Belichick: Patriots need to play better against the Jets

Rex Ryan doesn't want to get in trouble talking about Revis

Bears Conte willing to shorten lifespan for NFL career

Former NFLer Simeon Rice: I was sexually abused as a child

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson lead in 2014 athlete Google searches

Molding the market: All eyes on Max Scherzer

Another "Fire John Idzik' plane flies at Jets practice

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

Report: Some Browns shunned Manziel during pregame

Making an attempt to understand Celtics' priorities

Gronk makes awkward sausage joke on 'Top Chef'

Walmart ripped for confusing Anthony/Lin doll

RG3 taking sabbatical from social media for rest of season

David Robinson's son to walk-on at Duke next year

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

5 NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Five reasons why FSU is going to win the CFB Playoff

Boxer admits to dive in Rourke bout

FCC heard about Brady's swearing?

Embracing the hate of the Eagles-Cowboys Rivalry

DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles

Andrew Hawkins defends shirt

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.