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Devin McCourty’s versatility brings added dimension to Patriots secondary

01.17.12 at 4:43 pm ET
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Devin McCourty has displayed "position flexibility," according to his position coach. (AP)

One of the most surprising things in the regular-season finale and the playoff opener was the sight of Devin McCourty at safety instead of his usual cornerback spot. McCourty split his time between corner and safety over the last two games — on most occasions, McCourty was lined up opposite receivers on first and second downs before switching to deep safety on third and other passing downs.

Defensive backs coach Josh Boyer gave his assessment of McCourty as a safety on a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters.

“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,” Boyer said. “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,” Boyer said. “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.”

Boyer was asked about what sort of skills McCourty has that make him a good fit at safety.

“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,” Boyer said. “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.”

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