Patriots CB/S Devin McCourty has been under fire over the past season and half by Patriots fans because of his “poor play.” I have always been a big McCourty supporter, and some criticism that has been brought upon McCourty is simply unfair. As a rookie in 2010, Devin McCourty led all rookies with seven interceptions, and was elected to the Pro Bowl. He finished in second place for Defensive Rookie of the Year voting behind Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh.
McCourty did struggle in his second year with the Patriots, and was demoted from the number one Cornerback position midway through the season. He finished the season with only two interceptions, and never got into a rhythm throughout the whole season.
Early in his third year, McCourty got off to a slow start. He seemed to be turning it around a little less than halfway through the season, but injuries forced McCourty to move from Cornerback to Safety. McCourty showed his versatility during this process, and even received praise on multiple occasions from Head Coach Bill Belichick. Patriot fans know just how hard it is to receive good words from Belichick, and his praise shows that the entire coaching staff has faith in McCourty. He finished the season with five interceptions, and two more forced fumbles.
Since entering the league in 2010, McCourty is tied for third in the NFL in interceptions with 14. Here is a breakdown of the company he is in:
Ed Reed: 15
Asante Samuel: 15
Devin McCourty: 14
Corey Webster: 14
To add to those numbers, McCourty also has compiled 251 tackles, four forced fumbles, and even spent some time returning kicks last season in which he scored a touchdown. Seems like these are the type of numbers that are hard to reach for a player that supposedly “needs to be released.”
On top of his stats, and versatile play, McCourty is one of the six captains on the team. Even as a young player, McCourty has earned the respect of his other players, as well as the coaches in the organization. It is not usual that a player who “sucks” is a captain.
All in all, Devin McCourty has played very well in his first three seasons in the NFL. Outside of a poor 2011 campaign, what are the fans complaining about? Would you rather see Ellis Hobbs or Patrick Chung back here taking his place? Yeah, I didn’t think so.