McCourty praises Johnson, Bills wideouts

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McCourty praises Johnson, Bills wideouts

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is nursing agroin injury, and after not practicing on Wednesday, his status is unknown forSundays game against the Patriots.

But with the Bills offense thriving through the first twoweeks of the regular season, it would be tough to believe that Johnson wouldsomehow miss this one.

If he does play, theres no doubt hell be lined up withPatriots cornerback Devin McCourty, who gave the scouting report on Buffaloswideouts on Thursday.

Buffalo, theyre pretty hot, and I think one thing thatsimportant is, they spread the ball around, said McCourty. You talk aboutDavid Nelson and Stevie Johnson, and then you also have Donald Jones, whosplaying very well. So even with Roscoe Parrish down, they still have a bunch ofreceivers that are capable. So it doesnt get any easier week-by-week.

More specifically, McCourty also talked about Johnson, andthe versatility that he brings to the Bills passing game.

I think overall, hes not a guy that you can say, He onlydoes this. If you take this away, then you can stop him. Hes a guy that doeseverything pretty well, said McCourty. Hes a bigger guy, not the biggestguy. But he goes up and gets jump balls. He goes and runs routes inside. Heruns routes outside. He lines up in the slot. He lines up outside. So hes justa versatile receiver that can do everything on the field.

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will certainly be lookingfor Johnson (if he plays) on Sunday, and when describing Fitzpatricks strengths, McCourty was sureto point out his mind for the game.

The biggest thing is hes a Harvard graduate, so hes verysmart, said McCourty. I think thats what you see . . . Hes kind of runningthat show, and its moving pretty well. I think thats the main thing.

Hes not throwing interceptions. Hes not taking sacks.Hes not making bad plays. Hes just playing pretty good right now.

In the past, Buffalo hasnt been as good as theyve lookedthrough Week 2 of this season. But McCourty said that this group of Patriotsplayers have respected this Bills group since Week 3 of last season, when theygave the Pats a run for their money at Gillette Stadium, losing to New England38-30.

I think for this team, we have a bunch of guys that haventbeen here a long time to know about all those past games anyways, saidMcCourty. So, if you just look at last year, weve been in tough battles withthem . . . So weve already had that respect for them, and I think theyre nowproving it to everyone else.

As for the Patriots defense, it may be without safetyPatrick Chung on Sunday. Chung underwent surgery on his right thumb this week,and his status for Buffalo is in question.

McCourty is confident that someone can fill the void.

Someone will just have to step up, he said. Were notreally worried about that. Well go day-by-day with the guys out therepracticing, and when it comes to play Sunday, guys step up and guys get readyto go.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Patriots to have joint practices with Jags Aug. 7-8 ahead of preseason opener

Patriots to have joint practices with Jags Aug. 7-8 ahead of preseason opener


For the sixth season in a row, the Patriots will conduct joint practices with an opponent ahead of playing a preseason game. The team announced they'll work out with the Jacksonville Jaguars Aug. 7-8 at Gillette Stadium before playing the Jags in the preseason opener Aug. 10. 

The practices will be free and open to the public and will be held on the practice fields behind the Stadium.

The Patriots had joint practices with the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears last summer and previously had them with the Saints in 2015, the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, the Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and the Saints and Bucs in 2012.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has talked about the value of these joint practices, has found it a good way to scout players they might eventually have an interest in and has reportedly been discussing conducting them with another preseason opponent, the Texans (Aug. 19 at Houston), coached by former Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien.