FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty has played in two preseason games that have been marred in part by incessant penalty calls, but as he watched Monday night's exhibition between the Browns and Redskins the problem jumped out to him once again.
"Even last night watching the game, it just seems like every couple plays there's another flag," McCourty said. "It'll be tough for people trying to watch the game and have work in the morning."
The focus of the NFL's new emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact in the secondary has centered mainly on corners who like to play physically near the line of scrimmage. But McCourty explained that the new way of calling those penalties has implications for safeties as well.
"I think it's a little different but we have some of the same issues as far as how we're covering guys, too," McCourty said. "Like tight ends coming off the line of scrimmage. Things you might've gotten away with, you might not get away with. But I think it's hard to try to change your whole game. We don't wanna start giving up long passes and touchdowns just to say, 'I didn't want illegal contact.' Hopefully they just reduce the flags, and we get to play a little bit."
In Friday's preseason game with the Eagles there were nine penalties called for illegal contact, defensive holding and pass interference. The Patriots, however, were only whistled for one of those. Though they were flagged regularly for those types of infractions in joint practices, McCourty explained that he's pleased with the way the Patriots are adjusting.
"I think that's what's been great about our team is that we haven't made a lot of the same mistakes," McCourty said. "When you can do that it keeps giving you room to grow and get better. I think we have to continue to do that leading into the season."