Tuesday, April 9, 2013

McCourty excited for vet presence in Pats’ backfield


New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty showed solid leadership and versatility last year during his transition from cornerback to safety.

Some guidance from a five-time Pro Bowler certainly won’t hurt this season, though. (photo: Beth Hart, Flickr)

While participating in some community service at Arlington Elementary School on Monday, McCourty talked about his excitement in having veteran free agent safety Adrian Wilson join the secondary this season.

"I'm going to love having Adrian Wilson here just because since I've been here we haven't had that one 10-year vet (in the secondary) or that guy that's played a long time and been productive," McCourty said, via Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe. "I think the closest thing we had like that was my rookie year when we had guys like (Brandon) Meriweather, James Sanders and Leigh Bodden.

"It will be cool just to have that veteran presence in our locker room and our defensive back room, so I'm looking forward to learning a lot from him."

Wilson was acquired back in mid-March after a 12-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson’s hard-hitting style, mixed with McCourty’s solid cover skills, is a combo that has been lacking in New England’s secondary for some time.

The Pats’ defense has allowed nearly 275 yards in the air on average the past three years, allowing 79 passes of 20 yards or more in 2011, a league worst.

McCourty pulled in an impressive five interceptions last season and forced three fumbles. Wilson, a four-time All-Pro selection, has tallied 27 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles in his lengthy career.

Though the 33-year-old Wilson could see less work in the Pats’ defensive scheme than he’s accustomed to, his three-year deal paired with New England's recent struggles in the secondary means he likely won't be hurting for playing time.

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