FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty is just one of those players whose every week will be scrutinized until he establishes consistency or falls off into oblivion.
Having a tremendous rookie year and following it up with a sophomore slump will do that to a guy.
The McCourty evaluations in Year Three so far sit on both ends of the spectrum. Some say he's played well, others say he's been awful.
McCourty rides neither too high nor too low on the ever-changing analysis. For example, after netting just two interceptions in 14 games last year, he pulled down that many just last weekend against Buffalo.
"As a defensive back it always feels good to come down with interceptions," he said Wednesday. "That's what we work hard for and that's really the biggest reward of playing defensive back. That's big. And defensively, turnovers always help."
Is he still on Cloud Nine? Not really. McCourty prefers to build himself up on the next week's work.
"It's probably sometimes a little overrated," McCourty said of reveling in one good Sunday. "Because a lot of things that we go into the game with are determined in practice. When we have a good week in practice, when we have a good week studying film, you go into those games confident.
"Just because you have a great game one week, it doesn't mean that you're going to go into that next game feeling like no one can attack you. There's different offenses, you see different guys each week. So that week in practice always determines a lot."
He can't worry about whether or not those two picks will be the only he brings down all season. McCourty can't even think about trying to triple the total by January.
Easy does it.
"We work hard in practice to go out there and try to perform well on Sunday. I think my confidence for this week will start today with going out and having a good practice and just keep building it throughout the week."
0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss what’s going on between the Patriots and Malcolm Butler after Bill Belichick praised Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe but didn’t have much to say on Butler.
5:39 - John Farrell thinks David Price out of the bullpen can be similar to Andrew Miller with the Indians last year in the playoffs. Our panel on BST break it down.
10:35 - Curran, Holley, Smith, and Phil Perry talk about the NFL ratings being down and why that continues to be.
15:15 - Evan Drellich joins BST after the Red Sox win to explain why Drew Pomeranz could be even more threatening, how good the bullpen actually is, and the offense not driving in runs.
FOXBORO -- The picture at wide receiver wasn't pretty for the Patriots by the time the clock hit zeros in the fourth quarter in New Orleans over the weekend.
Chris Hogan looked hobbled for much of the second half. Phillip Dorsett left with a knee injury. Danny Amendola was ruled out well in advance of kickoff with a concussion and a knee injury. Matthew Slater was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Brandin Cooks looked like the only Patriots wideout to finish the game feeling spry.
But as the team prepares for the Texans this week, Dorsett is hoping he'll be back on the field with his teammates for practice.
"I feel good," Dorsett said in the Patriots locker room Monday. "Just a little sore, but I'm alright."
Not only would it help the Patriots offense to have another body available at receiver, but Dorsett understands how crucial it is for him to practice as much as possible. He was acquired in a trade with the Colts just before the season, and he knows he has work to do to get adjusted to his new offense.
"It's just me going out there and getting the plays in practice," Dorsett said when asked about his confidence level in running New England's system. "I feel like practice builds my confidence. If I get to play in practice, I feel more comfortable when it comes to the game."
Dorsett looked comfortable in Week 2, catching three passes for 68 yards. His first grab in the first quarter went for 23 yards and came on a play when Tom Brady, who was hit as he released, threw a floater down the right sideline. Dorsett alertly saw the pass falling short and worked back toward the line of scrimmage to make the catch.
"I think he trusts me," Dorsett said of Brady. "We work a lot during practice and after practice. Hopefully we can continue to gain more trust as the season goes on. It's only the second game. We got a long way to go."
More practice time would be helpful in allowing that relationship to continue to grow. We'll see if Dorsett gets any when the Patriots take the fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.