Devin McCourty is willing to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him, but that doesn't mean he's without his own preferences.
McCourty has seen some time at cornerback this month, and those reps increased during the joint-practices with the Saints last week in West Virginia. And during the game versus the Saints Saturday, he got the start opposite Malcolm Butler and did alright for himself in his brief playing time. He broke up a sure touchdown by swatting a pass out of Brandon Coleman's hands in the endzone but also got burned by the speedy Brandin Cooks on a 45-yard bomb down the hashmarks.
McCourty admitted that the play and result was on him for not taking the proper angle on the route, but it's hard to blame him seeing as how he hasn't sniffed the CB position in three years. For a player that began his NFL career as a corner but fizzled out at the spot, McCourty isn't all too crazy about the idea of coming back down to the line of scrimmage and playing corner again. But, he'll do whatever the coaches ask him to do.
"I hope [the move to corner] is not permanent," said McCourty following the game. "As a player, that's out of your control. It's the first time I've played corner in a game, I think, in like three years, so obviously it's a lot of frustration, but you just gotta play."
"It didn't feel great, and I don't think it looked great so we'll see."
It remains to be seen if McCourty's words are taken into consideration by Bill Belichick and the rest of the staff moving forward, but what we can get on Bill for is putting McCourty and the defensive backfield in this position in the first place. Darrelle Revis was likely heading out the door no matter what happened, but the same can't be said for the likes of Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington. The team chose not to re-sign Browner while Belichick cut one of the best slot corners in the NFL in Arrington back in May.
Many assumed that with Revis leaving town, the Patriots would move away from man-to-man coverage, making Browner's skill set less effective. But the Patriots haven't reverted back to their soft zone, bend-don't-break look, they've continued to play man coverage. How much better would the defensive unit look if Browner and Malcolm Butler were your starting corners and McCourty was still poaching the scene 10 yards behind them?
At this point, McCourty is best-suited playing safety. He's not alone in hoping that the time seen at corner isn't permanent.
Photo credit: The Advocate