New England Patriots: Secondary success begins with Devin McCourty

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 02: Devin McCourty
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 02: Devin McCourty /

If the New England Patriots are to fix their issues on defense, particularly in the secondary, Devin McCourty will be a key to that success. 

Entering the 2017 season, the New England Patriots secondary was supposed to be the strength of the defense.

Following a 33-30 loss to the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday, the secondary has not only been bad, but the worst in the league.  How can a secondary with talent like Devin McCourty, Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore display the type of bad football they have so far in the season?

Well, it all starts with communication.  All the players know it and if things are to turn around, a player like McCourty has to be the one to get everyone on the same page.  He is the captain after all and the player with the most experience playing in the defense.

FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 07: Demetrius Harris
FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 07: Demetrius Harris /

Like he said in the postgame conference following Sunday’s loss, it’s bad right now and something they need to fix quickly.

"“It’s bad,” McCourty said, via  “We’re letting our team down and not playing good football.  If we can’t play somewhat decent defense; it’s going to be hard to win games.  Our offense played great last week and bailed us out and they played great again this week, and we [the defense] let them down.”"

McCourty acknowledged that the players in the secondary, including himself, didn’t make the plays they needed to make.  He also reiterated that the team’s hard work in practice is not translating to the practice field.  They have the talent, they have the capability, so what is going wrong with a secondary that promised to be one of the tops in the league?

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It starts with McCourty

While the easy blame is Stephon Gilmore, who seems to be involved in all the defense breakdowns in the secondary, Devin McCourty has to take some of that blame.  He has to be the one to tell players where they need to be.  He also has to put himself in position to make plays as well.

It’s not all on McCourty.  Players like Gilmore, Butler, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung have to step up and make plays as well.  Furthermore, the coaches have to find a way to put them in positions to make plays.  Simply put, the communication has to get better and that starts with the captain.

With the team heading into a Thursday night matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they will be challenged quickly going against the duo of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.

Next: New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore’s struggles a cause for concern

It can’t possibly get any worse, can it?