McCourty knows he'll have to be self-sufficient


McCourty knows he'll have to be self-sufficient

By TomE. Curran

FOXBORO -- With all the labor grappling going on, it's easy to lose focus on the fact that - at some point - a new CBA will get done and football will rev back up again.

The teams that are best able to replicate offseason training they would do at the facility while on their own will be the ones who get a jump on 2011.

Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, speaking to media Wednesday night at The Hall at Patriot Place, talked about the uncertainty players are facing.

In a way, you worry about coming into a year a little different especially me, the way I went into my rookie year," McCourty said after being the featured speaker at the Patriots Hall of Fame speaker series. "One thing Im kind of confident in is that I believe in what we do here. Whatever happens, I feel like when we do get back here and were able to get back in our normal routine, well be ready to go."

McCourty noted also that being able to work out with his brother, Titans corner Jason McCourty, gives him an advantage in having someone to work out with.

"Between me and my brother, we push each other hard," Devin McCourty said. "Thats what he did last offseason, he worked out with me, I worked out with him, and I think having someone else to be able to go out there and attack and get better with, Im confident Ill be able to get better next year."

McCourty will have a new coach back in the secondary in 2011. Matt Patricia, formerly the team's linebackers coach, will be working with the safeties now that Corwin Brown has left the staff.

It will be cool," said McCourty (the corners will still be coached by Josh Boyer). "Matty P is crazy. With the linebackers last year, we were already close to them because the secondary and the linebackers, they have to be on the same page a lot of the time. So having Matty P back there will be cool. The only thing Im disappointed is that he cut all his hair and his beard off. That was kind of his mojo.

After such a brilliant rookie season (seven interceptions, Pro Bowl, second team All Pro), McCourty seems to understand offenses may avoid him in the future.

"At this position, your production is not always labeled by how many picks you have or how many tackles you have," he explained. "Its what you can do to shut down on that side of the ball. Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders) is barely thrown at. He cant get interceptions if the ball is not going his way. I think, for me, its watching film and seeing how I develop and what Im able to do in Year 2 that I couldnt do in Year 1, that will determine how I got better with that transition.

One thing he'd like to change in 2011. The ending.

"Watching the Super Bowl, not being in it, is no fun. You just do what you have to do work hard, because you know another season is coming and you know that feeling. Like everybody else, youll be working hard to avoid that feeling again.

Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame


Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

Raymond Clayborn has been voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out both Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour for the honor. The corner, who is tied for the franchise record for interceptions with Ty Law (36), will be the 26th person inducted to the Hall. 

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977, and chipped in both in the secondary and as a kick returner. As a rookie in the return game, he averaged 31 yards per return and brought back three for touchdowns. 

Clayborn reacted to the news on Twitter soon after the announcement was made. 

"I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond's entire Patriots career," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.

"One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket."

Clayborn has been a finalist for each of the last four years but was not able to generate enough support in the annual online vote to beat out Ty Law (2014 inductee), Willie McGinest (2015) or Kevin Faulk (2016). Clayborn was eligible to be voted in by the senior committee since he's now been retired for 25 years, but he did not receive the requisite eight of 10 senior committee votes to be elected in that way. 

As it turns out, he didn't need to be. When Kraft called Clayborn with the news, he said Clayborn received over 40 percent of the vote to beat out the pair of three-time Super Bowl champs. 

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots

Remember that Atlanta Falcons offensive game plan against the Patriots in the final five minutes of the Super Bowl?

Kyle Shanahan, then the Falcons offensive coordinator and now coach of the San Francisco 49ers won't forget it. If Atlanta had simply run the ball and kicked a field goal with an eight-point lead, the Falcons would have likely held off Tom Brady and the Pats' comeback from a 28-3 third-quarter deficit.

Shanahan told The Rich Eisen Show there's one play call he'd like to have back. 

"The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan said. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

Click here for the play: Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers sacked Matt Ryan for a 12-yard loss. 

"I go through every single play in the game, but when it comes down to it, the big one was the sack that we had on second-and-10,” Shanahan told Eisen. 

Shanahan probably won't see the Patriots again this season, unless it's in the Super Bowl. And with the 49ers rebuilding under him, that's not likely to happen.