Under Pressure: Devin McCourty
- McCourty is the bellwether of the beleaguered Patriots secondary. He was a Pro Bowler and second team All Pro as a rookie. He was asked to handle more receivers one-on-one in his second season and wound up as one of the least effective cornerbacks in the league. Things got so bad that McCourty had to be moved to safety.
- If McCourty played safety permanently, New England's top cornerbacks would be Kyle Arrington, second-year player Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore, and veteran journeyman Will Allen. Dowling is a total mystery after an injury-plagued rookie year. That is not an inspiring group. McCourty would make it look infinitely better if he can be above average again.
- Bill Belichick is supposed to be great with defensive backs. But he's been mixing and matching with spare parts for too long. It's been a big weakness of the team for years. McCourty is the key to the whole operation. Belichick drafted him in the first round because McCourty is smart and versatile. He was supposed to reliable.
Instead, McCourty's career has started with wild ups and downs. So which Devin McCourty will show up in 2012?