McCourty move to safety? 'You've got to be ready'

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McCourty move to safety? 'You've got to be ready'

FOXBORO -- Last year Devin McCourty, whether because of a lack of depth at the position or because he was struggling at cornerback, was moved to safety. He played about 20-percent of his snaps in the back of the secondary.
After 2011 came to a close, New England moved to bolster the safety position behind starter Patrick Chung by bringing in free agent veteran Steve Gregory. The team also drafted surprise second-round pick Tavon Wilson. Defensive back Nate Ebner was selected in the sixth round, though his best chance to make the roster was thought to be as a special teamer.
McCourty was left to rebound at left corner.
But The Plan saw some setbacks. Gregory suffered a hip injury in Week 4. Chung hurt his shoulder last weekend against the Seahawks and left the game.
Who did that leave to defend Seattle's game-winning drive Sunday? A pair of rookies.
The Seahawks needed just four plays. Just under the two-minute warning, Russell fired a 46-yard missile downfield to Sidney Rice for the go-ahead touchdown.
It was not the first time this season the deep ball has wounded, even killed New England. McCourty was asked if, as critics have noted, the issue is as basic as the defensive backs failing to locate the ball in the air.
"In some cases, it is that simple," he admitted. "In other cases it's different; I wouldn't lie and say no. In some cases it's going and just making a play."
So here we are again: McCourty is getting beat on routes and New England needs help guarding the back door. Could the hard-hitting corner be moved back to safety? The idea seems to be gaining traction among fans and analysts alike.
"That's not my call," McCourty said Friday. "I'll do whatever Coach Belichick decides. We've got some young guys that I think are doing a great job of picking up the defense since they've been here. I think they've done a great job just responding and give them opportunities to show what they know and how they can play."
But would he be ready to play, if asked?
"On this team, you've got to be ready to go anywhere."

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

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Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.