Posts Tagged ‘Devin McCourty’

Beyond the Numbers: The Rise of Patriots Safety Devin McCourty

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Once a first-round cornerback, Devin McCourty has emerged as a first-tier NFL safety. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The initial decision was made on a Thursday evening in April of 2010.

After trading back twice in the first round of the NFL draft, the New England Patriots found themselves on the clock with pick 27 overall. And Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty found himself waiting for a call.

McCourty carried what the organization was looking for – 52 games of collegiate experience, six career interceptions, 33 career pass deflections, seven blocked punts and kicks, a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and a 6.70-second three-cone drill. Yet the lean, 5’11”, 193-pounder carried other traits as well.

Traits not as easily quantified. (more…)

Assisted Pick: Devin McCourty’s Tip to Marquice Cole Highlights Patriots Comeback Win vs. Dolphins

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Devin McCourty and Marquice Cole combined for a play to remember against Miami in Week 8. (Photo: NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

“A tale of two halves.”

It may be an overused phrase seen across sports ledes, but it was the story of what transpired at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. The New England Patriots went into halftime down 17-3 to the Miami Dolphins in the Week 8 AFC East battle. Yet through the first 30 minutes, the on-field performance signified a larger disparity than the box score.

The Patriots were stagnant on both sides of the football; the offense had totaled just 25 pass yards while the defense had allowed 103 rush yards. And in the process, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was lost to a gruesome leg injury, conjuring up the same season-ending reality that claimed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Just when things hit rock bottom for head coach Bill Belichick and Co. – a booed three-and-out on New England’s opening third-quarter series – fortune switched sides. A sack by New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower snowballed into a missed field goal by Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis, and the Patriots responded with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady wide receiver Aaron Dobson. Then, after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was strip-sacked by cornerback Logan Ryan, a two-yard score from running back Brandon Bolden tied the game.

Before the third quarter was over, the Patriots had propelled to a 20-17 advantage by way of a 48-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The lead would not be relinquished, as New England went on to win, 27-17.

But if there was one play that defined the contrast between the first and second half of the Oct. 27 contest, it took place five snaps into the fourth: the assisted interception. (more…)

One for Safety: Patriots Secondary Shows New Wrinkle vs. Buccaneers in Week 3

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

The Patriots appeared to be in a nickel defense against the Buccaneers, but strong safety Steve Gregory was missing. (Photo: NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

“We’ve done that in the past. It’s not a big thing.”

Those were the words of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when asked about the defense’s three-cornerback, one-safety display against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.

“I think more of that look came against their three-receiver sets,” Belichick added. “So our third corner was with their third receiver. Yeah, it’s just a different matchup for us.”

It was a different matchup for the Patriots secondary. It allowed the defense to maintain a 4-3  front, and it allowed the cornerbacks to ship out in a “nickel” alignment – even though only four defensive backs were on the field at once.

The single-safety personnel grouping was showcased for just six plays in New England’s 23-3 win over Tampa Bay, but its implementation alone was enough to draw attention.


Defensive Continuity the Key to Patriots 2013 Success

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Devin McCourty Patriots Safety

Devin McCourty and the “old look” Patriots defense could shine in 2013. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

2007 changed everything for the Patriots. A team built on defense and a reliable offense in crunch time morphed into a high-powered, record breaking air attack with the acquisitions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

While exciting to watch and dominating for long stretches the 2007 season, it changed the Patriots philosophy on how to win football games. It became less about the defense and more about points on the scoreboard.

For the first time since 2007 the Patriots will have the opportunity to return to their championship philosophy and once again become a defense first team.


Bill Belichick’s Affinity for Greg Schiano, Rutgers Should Be Questioned

Monday, May 13th, 2013

The New England Patriots’ 2013 draft strategy was clearly influenced by Bill Belichick’s relationship with Greg Schiano. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Contributor: Dan Hope

For much of the first decade of the 21st century, the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick were a team considered to be ahead of the curve when it came to the NFL draft.

From consistently finding diamonds in the rough who became team building blocks, to mastering the art of trading up and down the draft board for better value, the Patriots laid the foundation for three NFL championships and five Super Bowl appearances in an 11-year span.

But as the rest of the league has caught up, with teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks making brilliant offseason moves translate into on-field success, the Patriots are at risk of falling behind.

As a result of Belichick’s success at the beginning of the century, winning three Super Bowls in the first five years of the millennium, he has typically received benefit of the doubt. Belichick’s decisions are ultimately expected to be for the better — understandably given his accolades — even if they are unexpected or unconventional.

That said, it’s time to start looking past the benefit of the doubt, with the Patriots now eight years removed from their last Super Bowl title. Specifically, the decision to use three of seven draft picks on Rutgers players, coinciding with an apparently burgeoning friendship between Belichick and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, should raise a red flag.


Re-Grading The 2010 Patriots Draft Picks: Devin McCourty

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Devin McCourty has had a great start to his career with the New England Patriots.
(Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope

Now three seasons removed from the 2010 NFL draft, it is time to look back on the New England Patriots’ selections from that year’s draft and evaluate the success or failure of each selection. The nine-part series, which will continue each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next three weeks, kicks off with first-round pick Devin McCourty.

The New England Patriots have used many early-round draft picks in recent years on defensive backs, and many of those picks have turned out to be disappointment. The Patriots ended up with a great player, however, in Devin McCourty, the No. 27 overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft.


Patriots vs Texans Open Thread: Impact Player?

Friday, January 11th, 2013
Devin McCourty Patriots Safety

Who will make an impact in the Patriots vs Texans playoff game? (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

It has been a long week listening to all the hype surrounding the impending Divisional Round Playoff game between the Houston Texans and the favored New England Patriots. I think we’re all ready for kickoff, although we’ll have to wait a few more days.

In today’s Open Thread, let’s discuss who will make the biggest impact for the Patriots if they are able to pull of a second straight win over AFC South champions.


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