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Devin McCourty defends the secondary, sort of: ‘It’s not like we went out there clueless’

10.19.12 at 1:36 pm ET
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Devin McCourty (32) and the Patriots secondary need to rise to the occasion and make plays. (AP)

FOXBORO — Devin McCourty has heard all the criticism now for the better part of six weeks.

The secondary is giving up too much ground and allowing way too many big plays of 20 yards or more.

Now, with the “ground and pound” Jets on deck this week, there appears to be a great chance for confidence-building in the defensive backfield, with the Jets ranking 30th in the NFL in pass offense at 184.3 yards a game.

McCourty said Friday he and he secondary mates are not worried about shutting up critics because that’s wasted energy.

“Not too much time saying, ‘we’re better’ because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter,” McCourty said Friday. “It’s all about what you put out there. We definitely went over what we need to do better on the field to get that out of the way and know what we need to take care of. For us, the biggest thing is just going and playing. A lot of the things we know. It’s not like we went out there clueless and not knowing. Now, it’s about getting that taste out of our mouth and go out there and play football again.”

McCourty was asked if there’s a chance he might be seeing more time at safety, a position he played sparingly at the end of last season.

“That’s not my call,” he said. “That’ll be whatever coach [Bill Belichick] decides but we have some young guys who’ve done a great job of picking up the defense since they’ve been here. I think they’ve done a great job just responding, giving them opportunities to show what they know and how they can play.

“On this defense, you’ve got to be ready to go anywhere.”

As far as technique, something Alfonzo Dennard referenced on Tuesday, critics have said the Patriots DBs need to do a better job of finding the ball when it’s in the air. McCourty doesn’t disagree.

“In some cases, it is that simple. In other cases, it’s different but I wouldn’t lie, in some cases it is just going and making a play (on the ball),” he said.

If the Patriots can patch their secondary together along with a solid effort from the front seven, this figures to be a game the Patriots should win, especially at home with both team entering at 3-3.

“All these games throughout the season are always big. In your division, around here, we always talk about taking care of your division, then playing at home, too, try to take care of home,” McCourty said. “With the race so close and everything so even this year, it’ll be big for us to come out here and play well. I think we’re anxious to get back on the field and just play. All the guys in this locker room want to just play this weekend. We’re excited and anxious to get back out there.”

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