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Would the Patriots defense be better with Devin McCourty at safety?

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    Would the Patriots defense be better with Devin McCourty at safety?
    By: John Morgan

    One issue with the Pats pass defense is the weakness of the linebackers in pass coverage. Moving Devin McCourty permanently to safety could help the team in that area of the field by allowing for...

     
  2. PATRIOTSFANINPA

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    Since McCourty blows at corner,the obvious answer is YES
     
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    Good idea on playing Free Safety that way McCourty can rome and more times that not he'll be facing the play...rather than playing with his back against the ball.
     
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    I am one of his critics too but McCourty doesn't blow as much as Kyle Arrington!
     
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    a good safety can make a corner better


    a bad safety can make a good corner worse



    if you are going to give dowling and dennard a shot on the outside, with arrington in the nickel on the slot, i say go for it


    gregory & his health fits into this as well....a healthy gregory, and i'd like to see mccourty stay at corner
     
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    I am still in the camp that McCourty is a far better CB than people have given him credit for. I think he does give up one or two big plays a game, BUT is solid for the most part for the rest of the game most weeks.

    I still think this team is best with him at LCB and Dennard at RCB. Unfortunately, with both Chung and Gregory out, the safety position is an even bigger mess than the CB position. Until at least one comes back, he has to stay at safety. But this team is better with him at CB.

    This team made Sanchez look like Aaron Rodgers at times with McCourty at FS with the Jets picking on Dennard, Dowling, and Arrington. The week before , Wilson got big plays on everyone other than McCourty except for one play where McCourty had pretty good coverage, but the ball was just perfect.

    He is easily the best player in the secondary. He should be at the LCB because of that alone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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    I'm pretty much an agnostic on this point right now, but I wonder if your point here is true.

    If McCourty is the best player in the secondary--and if that remains true if he plays CB or safety (which I think is an important if, correct? The skill sets at the two positions are different)--then maybe he would be better off at safety.

    Here's why. Thought about this on Sunday. A graphic showed the Steelers' record with Troy Polamalu was 28-9, without him 7-9. I remember the Pats with and without Rodney Harrison was pretty much the same. A dominant safety made a HUGE difference. Really striking.

    Now, I'm not saying that McCourty is/would be a dominant safety like that, I'm just wondering if that kind of huge disaparity is reflected elsewhere, on other teams, at any other position.
     
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    I don't know. I'm worried that McCourty would have a Eugene Wilson sort of career, where injury would dramatically curtail his effectiveness over time.

    On the other hand, Chung has been stinking out the joint and McCourty hasn't been getting it done at CB. I suggested a starting 4 of

    Dowling
    Dennard
    Wilson
    McCourty

    for the Rams game in another thread. I still think that's worth a shot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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    Both Polumalu and Harrison were rare, elite players. McCourty may be the best player in the secondary, but he is not anywhere near the class those two are.

    Unless the Pats are going up against a team with a really good TE or slot receiver, McCourty's best spot is at LCB assuming the safety position is healthy. Him playing safety on Sunday did nothing to fix the secondary woes. In fact, it made the right side of the field more vunerable and Sanchez doesn't like throwing to his left a lot.
     
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    It makes sense to move McCourty to safety where his speed, toughness and tackling skills could make him an above-average deep safety.

    I'm a devout pessimist when it comes to this team's pass defense. But, I could get a little excited if the Pats made the changes suggested by the author of this article. But, I'd play Tavon Wilson rather than Chung as the "big" safety because I think he's a more versatile player capable of playing better man coverage against both a TE and a slot receiver.

    Then, if they could run some games upfront improving the pass rush, we might actually be on to something. It will not always be pretty and Dowling and Dennard will get more than their fair share of holding penalties at first, but can it be any uglier than what we've seen so far?
     
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    That's entirely possible, but Wilson played in a time when a safety could actually hit a receiver hard and not get flagged for it.
     
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    Until we find 2 reliable safeties this may be the way to go. McCourty's been a decent corner and was a stud corner when we had actual safeties. Ideally I'd like to see him as our #1 CB with the safety position solidified but until then put him at safety with Dennard/Dowling at LCB/RCB.
     
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    I like that starting four, but who would get the slot receiver? If it's Arrington, then it doesn't really matter who the other 4 are on the field in the secondary since he's an automatic first down. I would rather have Dennard play the slot and leave McCourty and Dowling at CBs. Wilson and Gregory can man the back end. The less we see Arrington, the better our defense is going to be.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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    Polumalu and Harrison are Hall-of-Famers or should be because if their versatility. Harrison could play in the box on one play and line up against marvin harrison on the next. No one would ever confuse McCourty with either of them. But, if Belichick has determined that he must play more cover one to improve his pass defense, there is no one on the Patriots more capable of being the "one' than McCourty.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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    Sure, I get that. It's just that the numbers are SO striking--more than most QBs, it just got me thinking if any other guy--a linebacker, a CB, whatever--showed that kind of disparity.
     
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    Arrington does better in the short area type of defending than he does when the field opens up. He's better served as a nickel (dime would be better) back than as a starter.
     
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    I've always looked at Wilson as a guy who got hurt in consecutive Super Bowls and then was gun shy for the rest of his career. I think his issue was more mental than physical, and I think McCourty has a mental issue already. I've rarely seen a player more ready to get beat than McCourty seems to be. I don't know that it would take much to get this kid to check out as a safety.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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    I almost wonder if this issue is less about where McCourty plays, and more about the defense that they play because of it. In an ideal world, I'd like to see more cover 1 man coverage, and I'm not completely opposed to Dennard and Dowling being the starting corners, assuming Dowling isn't hurt too badly. They obviously need a little time to adjust to the NFL, but they're two of the most physical CBs to come out of college in the past few years. And if Arrington can't handle the slot, then the Pats could always try Gregory there, as he was mostly a slot corner for SD a few years ago before moving to safety. I know a lot of people are ready to get rid of Chung in favor of Wilson, but being the SS in a cover 1 would mean that Chung wouldn't be in deep coverage, which has been his biggest problem.
     
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    I'd like to see this, but it does underscore just how inexperienced the Patriots are in the defensive backfield.
     
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    That's why I so bummed out he fumbled the kickoff after bringing one back. On the one after the fumble, he ran it out looking, to me, terrified of fumbling again.
     

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