McCourty shrugs off injury, pressure to bounce back

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McCourty shrugs off injury, pressure to bounce back

FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty is on the hot seat in 2012.
The cornerback's sophomore year was almost as bad as his rookie year was good. From Pro Bowler to near-bust: a late-season move to free safety in 2011 signaled him a liability.
It's because he set the bar so high to start that his fall was impossible to comprehend.
Even when McCourty did stay with his man, if the footwork was good, he just couldn't make a play on the ball. Only one player surrendered more yardage last season (Green Bay'sTramon Williams) than McCourty's 1,004. Opponents caught 62 balls of the 101 they were targeted for against him. And the average quarterback rating against McCourty? 106.2.
But he kept his head up through it all.
A first-year captain, McCourty remained accountable after every game no matter what the damage.
Negativity only would have made things worse.
"It's football; you've got to keep playing," he said Thursday. "Once you doubt yourself, you might as well just ask not to be on the field.
"Same approach I had last year and coming into my rookie year is the same now: I'm just trying to improve each day here. So far, that's worked for me, just improving and learning form other guys. I think that's what I'll stick to and just keep working on."
It's fair to wonder if the shoulder separation McCourty suffered in New England's Week 5 tilt against the Jets dogged him for the rest of the season.
But when offered the excuse, he waved it off.
McCourty said he knew immediately upon colliding with teammate Sterling Moore that something was very, very wrong. Still, he insists the worst of the pain was felt on the walk back to the locker room -- that, after that moment, it just kept getting better.
"It hurt to move probably the first week," he admitted. "But after that it was just kind of strengthening it and going through the whole process of building it back up. I think the biggest thing that's helped me is the time and steady working at it.
"It was tough, but I thought I was fortunate that it wasn't something really serious that could have ended the season or something like that. I try to see the positive in every situation."
What about those post-game moments when he looked pained just reaching into his locker?
"That's just the way it looked," he said tightly. "It felt alright."
McCourty can dismiss the injury if he wants -- the analysts will only be harder on him. Not that he cares. The cornerback shrugged at the pressure being put on him in print.
"I see it as, everybody has a job. Our job is to play football; your guys' job is to watch and judge on what you see, and make opinions, and talk on what's out there. I just think about it that way: everyone has their own job to do. "
The Patriots only care McCourty does his.

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.