New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty has been the topic of many offseason discussions attempting to project his role in 2012. McCourty entered his own take on the talks recently, sounding quite open-minded about the situation.
McCourty also updated his health status in comments reported by the Boston Herald on Monday. When asked for comment on his shoulder recovery, McCourty said "it’s doing better, I’m rehabbing it. It’s getting stronger, progressing.”
He avoided surgery this offseason, but it's a tad bit concerning that he's still nursing an injury that held him out in Weeks 11 and 12 last season. McCourty sustained a separated shoulder on an accidental hit from teammate Sterling Moore.
Moore was playing safety at the time, proof that in the right circumstances, players will be asked to flex their versatility. McCourty understands this as much as anybody.
“I try to study and know as much as I can, so if coach decides I play corner or safety, I’m going to make sure I’m ready to play either/or,” said McCourty in comments reported by ESPN.com. “Like coach said, ‘we don’t have a game tomorrow’ so no decisions need to be made now. We’ll see how it goes.”
McCourty even addressed the prospects of a dual role and seeing time at both positions.
"Here? To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have told you 'no way' at all," McCourty said. "We’ve got guys that played offense and defense. To think a guy can’t move and play some corner and some safety, I don’t think it’s crazy."
Considering the overhaul of the defense this season, I don't think it's too crazy either. New England should have enough able bodies to employ at safety this season, but in certain alignments, I wouldn't be surprised to see McCourty shift back.
It seems like a permanent transition is out of the question for the 24-year-old, at this stage at least. If the Patriots have an interest in developing his flexible skills, it could only help McCourty's position versatility and late-career options.
Longtime Packers corner Charles Woodson is looking to follow the successful footsteps of Rod Woodson in transitioning to safety. Had he not at least experimented with the position before, this type of maneuver at age 35 may not be possible.