Josh Boyer assesses what makes Devin McCourty a good fit at safety.
I would say Devin, like all of our guys, has position flexibility. I think he has worked really hard in the film room and on the practice field trying to improve his techniques. With some things that haven't gone so good, we work hard on those, and then the things that do go well, we try to improve upon those. Just from a position flexibility standpoint, we have a lot of guys that have done some of the stuff that Devin is doing. Sterling [Moore] has had positional flexibility for us, as well as Patrick Chung. So all of our guys back there, Kyle [Arrington] included in that mix, they are very aware of what is going on [and doing] what we feel is best for the team that week of who is going to be in what spot.
For the safety, one of the things you are looking for is a guy that can track the ball in the air, which Devin has been able to do. You have to have a little bit of range. You have to be kind of a physical player being able to step up in the box. Devin has done all of those things at points in times for us in the season. There are things that we can still improve on in all those areas.
Until you actually put that player in that position you're not quite sure how it's going to turn out, but I think the most important thing is we kind of talk about it ad nauseam around here really the more you can do, the more you can do. The reality of it is you're either a starter on defense or on offense or a starter in the kicking game and those are really the 46 guys that end up going into the game. Now, if a guy can do one or two or three different things that's certainly going to enhance his ability on game days to make a contribution to the team.
Until you actually put that player in that position, some players can handle more relative to others, but I think it's a credit to the players and I think it's a credit to the coaches for investing the time and giving the player the opportunity and seeing what they can handle. The in the end they have to go out there and be able to perform whatever task that may be in a high enough level that you feel comfortable that if you put them in a different position that they're normal accustomed to not playing, that they're going to go out there and perform at a competitive enough level.
- Erik Scalavino tells us what happened at Gillette Stadium Tuesday.
- The New England Patriots set records on the field and in the ratings.
- Conference Call Transcripts: Bill Belichick - Josh Boyer - Nick Caserio.
- Patriots Today - Belichick, players on WEEI. (3.11 min. video)
- Jerry Thornton declares he's never witnessed a good team on a great roll have more pessimism thrown its way than this one. Worth a read.
- Karen Guregian believes Tom Brady is well-armed this time around, and better equipped to deal with the Ravens defense.
- Christopher Price gives us a game-by-game look at how frequently the Patriots have run the no huddle this season.
- Mike Reiss wonders if the Patriots will play Stevan Ridley, in light of his last two fumbles.
- The AP writes about Wes Welker flying under the radar, with all the attention going to the Patriots' tight ends.
- Paul Kenyon sees LB Rob Ninkovich as the poster boy for this year's Patriots defense.
- Mike Reiss writes about why DB coach Josh Boyer thinks Devin McCourty is a fit at safety.
- Mike Reiss serves up some leftovers from the coaches' conference calls.
- Karen Guregian charts the Ravens' methods of pressuring Tom Brady the last two times they played.
- Kirk Minihane takes time for myth-busting the Patriots-Ravens matchup.
- Cris Collinsworth says the Ravens will play a totally different game against the Patriots than they did against the Texans.
- Tom E. Curran points out that this Ravens team doesn't travel well, and lost away from home to teams that never made the playoffs.
- Chris Gasper previews the key Patriots-Ravens matchups. (3.10 min. video)
- Dan Duggan analyzes this key matchup on Sunday: Matt Light vs. Terrell Suggs.
- Steve Buckley talks about why the Ravens rematch will be different this time.
- Greg A. Bedard notes if the Patriots expect to beat the Ravens, they have to stop Ray Rice.
- Jeff Howe thinks Vince Wilfork and the D-Line could be the biggest factor against the Ravens and 19 other Patriots thoughts.
- Shalise Manza Young reports the Patriots had only praise for Baltimore's offense, during yesterday's conference calls.
- Mike Reiss matches up the Patriots and Ravens in terms of where they ranked in key statistical categories during the regular season.
- Dan Duggan takes a look at the history involved in the Baltimore-Patriots matchup.
- Jim Donaldson ranks the eight Patriots' AFC Championship games, and puts the 1985 Dolphins game at the top of the list.
- Mike Reiss reads the swagger is back in this week's Patriots mailbag.
- Bob Ryan shares some of the flak he has received from Tebow zealots, following the Broncos loss in New England.
- Jeff Howe reports safety Josh Barrett still honors the legacy of Pat Tillman.
- Michael Whitmer Patriots Notebook: Patriots could start game in the no-huddle, as they did against the Broncos; Wes Welker admits one drawback to the no-huddle is that it tires out the offense as well as opposing defenses; Ball security continues to be emphasized by the coaches; David Givens holds the franchise record for most career TDs in the postseason.
- Karen Guregian Patriots Notebook: Joe Flacco took heat from Ed Reed for his play against Houston; Belichick didn't exactly go overboard with praise, but gave Flacco his due; DB coach Josh Boyer discussed Devin McCourty's switch to safety; Stevan Ridley has earned positive reviews, but he has to hold onto the ball.
- James Walker (ESPN) Tom Brady's QBR is off the charts.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Monday Musings: How do you slow Brady?
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Is there a scheme to limit the Patriots' TEs?
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) Motivated by failure, the Pats are the playoffs' most dangerous team.
- James Walker and Jamison Hensley (ESPN) Double coverage: Patriots or Ravens.
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) Disappearing act: Ochocinco has all but vanished from Patriots offense.
- Adam Schein (Fox Sports) Ravens star Ed Reed calls out QB Joe Flacco for shaky performance.
- Brad Biggs (Chicago Tribune) Former Bears DE Mark Anderson regains his touch as a sack man with the Patriots.
- First Take (ESPN) Rob Parker, Jay Feely and Skip Bayless debate the Pats-Ravens spread. (6.30 min. video)
- Brian Billick, Planning for Brady. (3.09 min. video) and (NFL.com)
- James Walker (ESPN) Pats-Ravens: Early weather report.
- James Walker (ESPN) Will home field matter?
- Jamison Hensley (ESPN) Suggs and Brady being cordial so far.
- James Walker (ESPN) Is McDaniels a factor again?
- Will Brinson (CBS Sports) Super Bowl Odds: Championship Game Previews.
- Conan O'Brien (Team Coco.com) More hits to the tune of St. Elmo's fire: Rob Gronkowski, Zoltan Mesko and Asst. strength & conditioning coach Moses Cabrera.
- PFW Report (Pro Football Weekly) 2011 All-AFC team.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Ranking Super Bowl scenarios: Giants-Patriots rematch gets top billing.
- Ray Ratto (CBS Sports) NFL keeps spinning crazily even for those no longer playing.
VIEW FROM BALTIMORE
- Jarrett Johnson (BaltimoreRavens.com) Facing Belichick, Pats offense is battle of wits.
- Mike Klingaman (Baltimore Sun) For players, AFC Championship the 'epitome' of where they want to be.
- John Eisenberg (BaltimoreRavens.com) A two-dimensional attack needed to advance.
- Ryan Mink (BaltimoreRavens.com) Comparing Flacco to remaining playoff QBs.
- Matt Vensel (Baltimore Sun) Reed criticizes Flacco for his play against the Texans.
- Garrett Downing (BaltimoreRavens.com) Ravens relish underdog role.
- Peter Schmuck (Baltimore Sun) Ravens need one more impact-game from Suggs.
- Sarah Ellison (BaltimoreRavens.com) Playoff loss to Ravens still in Pats' heads?
- Garrett Downing (BaltimoreRavens.com) Torrey Smith thought he might go to Pats.