Cornerback competition heats up in Patriots' training camp
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Devin McCourty is ready to change the subject.
''I honestly think that's a little overrated,'' the safety said. ''I think everyone kind of still wants to talk about that, but here we're playing football with the guys we got here. We're not worried about who was here last year.
''I think everyone knows Coach Belichick is probably the quickest on getting us past everything that happened, so for us it's just a focus on this year and what we need to do to be competitive and have a good secondary.''
Revis is back with the New York Jets, and Browner left for the New Orleans Saints. That's left third-year player Logan Ryan and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler in line to be the starting corners. Veterans Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher and Bradley McClain also are getting looks.
''I think we're competing,'' McCourty said. ''I think it's a little early to try to evaluate and do all that - I try to leave that to the coaches - but I think guys are coming out each day, competing and not taking anything for granted, and I think that's what you like.
''We're working toward being a better unit. Obviously, to be a good unit we need guys to make individual plays, but we're starting to see we're getting on the same page. Everyone knows our offense does some tricky things and we're starting to see some things that are a little difficult maybe that we didn't get in the spring and we're picking up now. There's progress, but we just have to keep moving along.''
Butler, the rookie who intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line to pull out the Super Bowl win, on Tuesday picked off a Tom Brady pass - Brady's first interception of training camp. Clearly, Butler is being counted on to take the next step in development.
''He's trying to learn as much as possible,'' McCourty said. ''He comes in here every day and I think we know one thing we'll get out of him is competing against receivers. That's what he does exceptionally well. Everything else, we just keep talking to him, whether it be the first time he saw routes or different combinations and zone coverages, we just continue to talk to him like we do with all the young guys.''
NOTES: Willie McGinest and the late Houston Antwine were inducted into the Patriots' Hall of Fame in ceremonies prior to a night practice at Gillette Stadium attended by season-ticket holders and Foxborough residents. . McGinest, asked Tuesday about Brady and Deflategate, said, ''Tom is strong. Tom has his head up high. I always tell everybody Tom is a better person than he is a football player, and that means a lot. We all support Tom, and if Tom looked me in the eye and says he had nothing to do with it, then I have to believe him. I know him. He's like a little brother to me, so until I see (differently) or it's proven otherwise, that's what I have to ride with.'' . McGinest said former Patriots coach Bill Parcells ''gave birth to my football life.'' ... The Patriots waived draft choice A.J. Derby for purposes of placing him on injured reserve.
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