Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
New-england-patriots-san
FOXBORO, Mass. – Devin McCourty had an eventful scrimmage on Saturday. The fourth-year safety shed his red non-contact jersey and moved back to safety, after spending all of Friday’s practice at cornerback. McCourty showed why he should be playing back deep at safety, too. McCourty picked off Ryan Mallett on an underthrown ball and covered the back half of the field very well. He struggled at times on Friday while playing cornerback especially against some of the team’s top receivers. Of course, he hasn’t played cornerback much lately. He participated in some drills on Thursday, but has mostly stayed at safety since the beginning of last season. The Patriots split up their team into blue and white jerseys on Saturday to play a scrimmage. There’s not much to take away from a scrimmage without pads for the offensive and defensive lines, but it’s valuable to watch the quarterbacks, receivers, linebackers and defensive backs. Having McCourty covering the deep half of the field helped the Patriots’ secondary tremendously last season. It was his move, along with Aqib Talib coming in, Kyle Arrington moving to the slot and Alfonzo Dennard taking a starting role that boosted the passing defense midway through last season. The last piece to fill in the defensive backfield is at strong safety. Adrian Wilson was playing with the first team on Saturday, though Steve Gregory has also taken plenty of reps next to McCourty. -Dennard and Shane Vereen were in uniform, but did not participate. Dan Connolly was in uniform, but was limited. Elvis Fisher, Tyronne Green and Matthew Slater all spent time on the bike. -Michael Jenkins, Mark Harrison and Rob Gronkowski were in sweats, but did not participate. -Lavasier Tuinei, Ras-I Dowling, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Marcus Cannon, Kevin Haslam, Jake Ballard, Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead were not spotted. OFFENSE -Saturday is Tom Brady‘s 36th birthday. Pepper Johnson wore a shirt wishing Tom a Happy 40th. -Zach Sudfeld, Stevan Ridley, Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount all took snaps split out wide or in the slot. It’s still very obvious Sudfeld is the most athletic tight end on the field. It’s not even very close. -Brady was only in on two drives during the scrimmage. He threw touchdowns to Danny Amendola in both. -Tim Tebow showed flashes of brilliance, but most of his scrimmage was spent taking too much time to get rid of the ball and overthrowing, underthrowing and missing receivers. He was keyed in on Josh Boyce and Quentin Sims, but rarely looked Aaron Dobson‘s way. It was clear that it takes longer for Dobson to get open than other shiftier receivers on the roster. Sims had a nice day, going up and over Justin Green for a touchdown. Boyce had a very good practice, even with Tebow throwing to him. -Kenbrell Thompkins continues to shine and caught another pass up and over Arrington and Logan Ryan. -Ridley flashed his hands on a wheel route out of the backfield. Chandler Jones was no match for the running back in coverage. -Julian Edelman looks back to his shifty ways. He had a couple drops, but overall has been solid in his return. DEFENSE -McCourty, Duron Harmon and Jamie Collins all had interceptions. Collins’ was after Dane Fletcher had interfered with Michael Hoomanwanui. -Without a backup long snapper, Rob Ninkovich was snapping to Zoltan Mesko during the scrimmage. -Harmon looked very good playing deep safety on the second team. He broke up a pass intended for Daniel Fells from Tebow. -Ryan has been up and down while replacing Dowling on the field. He’ll allow some big receptions deep, but looks solid in the shallow part of the field. -Talib was rarely targeted out on the field. He’s been extremely productive throughout all of training camp. He struggled at times last season after coming over the Buccaneers, but it seems like his time in the program has been extremely helpful -Marcus Benard was playing with the first team and lining up at defensive tackle. It’s possibly he wouldn’t be getting those opportunities if Cunningham were healthy, but he’s making the most of them and has been a standout player during training camp. -It’s unfortuante Brandon Spikes has limited athleticism and mobility. He has a great nose for the football, and shows off great ball skills in coverage. His issue is getting to the defender on time. Filed under: Doug Kyed, New England Patriots, Top Stories
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

LeBron James on Ferguson: 'Violence is not the answer'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

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.

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

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.