No Huddle: Quick hits with McCourty


No Huddle: Quick hits with McCourty

FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty answered a few questions Friday afternoon before New England's flight out to Seattle.
Literally, a few.
Here's what the cornerback had to say.
What does it take to put the previous wins behind you and play in the moment?
DM: "Just being prepared and knowing what we've got to do this week. The past two weeks don't matter. We're just focused on what we've got to do to go out in Seattle and play well. I think that's what the team has done is, turn the page. We've got things that we really need to do this week to go out there and try to get a win.
"After that, things will fall into place and we'll see what we have to do after that."
A good plan for everyone, everywhere, really. McCourty Zen.
What kind of challenges do Seattle wide receivers Sidney Rice (6-4, 202) and Golden Tate (5-10, 202) present?
DM: "That's one challenge with us... Rice, he has good height and good size, he can go up and get the ball. Golden Tate doesn't have that size, but he does a great job of going up and getting the ball. As you watch you can see he's really made some plays down the field. Just like that play in Green Bay -- it was thrown up and he went up there and competed for the ball. We'll just have to go out and try to compete with him on plays down the field and when they catch the ball on different plays, just tackling them to the ground."
The corner is of course talking about Tate's controversial game-winning "catch" against the Packers. Ninety-nine percent of the nation believes the replacement refs not only got the call wrong, but should have whistled Tate for offensive pass interference.
Remember the replacement refs? Yeah. That was fun.
Is part of the strategy of going against rookie quarterback Russell Wilson getting him rattled early?
DM: "We just try to go out there an play. He does a great job of getting outside the pocket and making some plays. I think we'll have to do some different things. You don't want to just attack-attack him. He's able to get outside, break a tackle; once he sees a lot of open field he has pretty good speed and athleticism to make a play with his legs and then throw the ball. We'll just try to do some different things to attack and give him different looks."
Wilson had a great preseason and won the starting quarterback job for Seattle. But lately he's been having some hiccups in keeping his early success consistent. Five of Wilson's six interceptions have come in the last two weeks. He's also thrown just one touchdown in that span. The Patriots defense was probably salivating after watching Wilson's performance against St. Louis: 17-for-25 passing for 160 yards.
The Seahawks rank No. 27 in the NFL for points scored with just 86. New England is No. 1 with 165.

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady

David Harris gets Jerod Mayo's old No. 51 with Patriots

David Harris gets Jerod Mayo's old No. 51 with Patriots

If you're hoping to help lead the Patriots defense from the middle of the field, No. 51 wouldn't be a bad jersey to wear in that pursuit.

Those are the digits that were worn by longtime Patriots captain (and Quick Slants co-host) Jerod Mayo during his run with the team from 2008-15. Taking the torch from linebackers like Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau and Mike Vrabel, Mayo was the defensive signal-caller and quarterback of the Patriots defense for the better part of a decade, eventually handing the reins to his understudy Dont'a Hightower. 

With Harris now in the mix, the defense will still be led by Hightower, who was a captain for the first time in 2016. But Harris figures to serve as a leader in his own right for the Patriots. The 33-year-old 'backer has been one of the game's most durable players at his position while with the Jets, and over time he established himself as a savvy communicator at the second level. 

Comparing Harris to Mayo comes easily because of their reputations as coach-on-the-field types. Back in 2014 when Darrelle Revis called New England home, he explained that what Mayo did for the Patriots defense reminded him of what Harris did in New York.

Now Harris has Mayo's old number, and in training camp he'll make a play for some of the duties Mayo held later in his career. How Harris will handle his new role, and how he may help his teammates take their games to new heights, is something we touched upon in this space earlier today

Harris wore No. 52 during his 10 years with the Jets. That number has belonged to Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts since he came into the league last season as a rookie, and it looks like Roberts will hold onto it for the foreseeable future.

No. 51 has bounced around to a couple of different Patriots since Mayo's retirement. Last year it was claimed by Barkevious Mingo, who has since moved on to Indianapolis as a free agent. Through this year's spring workouts No. 51 was worn by undrafted rookie linebacker Brooks Ellis, who now shares No. 47 with fullback Glenn Gronkowski.