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Sports

November 1, 2013

Patriots DB McCourty making most of the season

(Continued)

“He does that on a weekly basis.”

McCourty’s transition to safety has been rather seamless.

He made the Pro Bowl as a cornerback his rookie year with seven interceptions, but labored through a sophomore slump, recording just two interceptions in 14 games. As injuries mounted last season and the team acquired shutdown cornerback Aqib Talib at the trading deadline, McCourty was shifted to safety.

And he’s been there since.

“The more reps you get at anything you do in football, the better you get at it,” said McCourty, adding he never targeted a single safety to model himself after, but takes something away from each one he watches in game film. “You see some things they do and some things you can incorporate in your game.”

McCourty’s mere presence has proven even more valuable for a unit decimated by injuries. Already missing their top two linemen and leading tackler, the Patriots also have been without Talib (hip) the past two weeks.

“Devin is a great example for all of us with his work ethic, his toughness, his consistency,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s just a solid worker, great kid, communicates well, he’s smart and he’s been a very dependable guy for us.”

Even Brady can’t beat him.

The two-time league MVP tries to trick him in practice, but McCourty doesn’t bite.

“You really have to look Devin off. He’s really smart, he sees combinations and sometimes you try to look him off and he knows you’re trying to look him off so he doesn’t take it,” Brady said. “The longer he’s been at safety, the better he’s done. He’s really been a consistent player for our team.

“He knocks balls away, covers guys in man coverage and then has that range in the deep part of the field where he truly plays like a safety.”

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