Former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison is looking for more from current safety Devin McCourty. In a contract year, McCourty already has a lot to prove to the team this season, but Harrison believes McCourty is the key for the Patriots secondary to have the type of promising season being envisioned with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. On Friday, Harrison gave an analysis that pretty much focused on McCourty.
Harrison, who is now an analyst for NBC Sports, has been critical of the Patriots defense over the last few years and has no problem speaking his mind when it comes to his former team. As a former safety in a complicated, but successful defense, Harrison has inside knowledge as well as an analytical perspective of the keys to the Patriots success in the secondary this season. He believes it starts with McCourty.
Harrison said, “Devin McCourty has to step up and be that leader. I know it’s a contract year for him but instead of just worrying about money, he has to take over that secondary as a safety. Cornerback is relegated to one side of the field. The safety sees the whole field, Devin McCourty, I expect has to have professional pride and say, ‘This is my secondary. You guys are coming here and I’m gonna get everyone lined up and we’re gonna get it done.’”
Both Revis and Browner has already shown their impact during practice. Harrison believes McCourty does have it in him to have just as much impact, if not more on the field as the field general. Harrison believes it will all revolve around how much comfort McCourty has in the role. Part of that may involve getting in the face of a player like Revis. Harrison continued, “Sometimes it takes getting in Darrelle Revis’ face. I don’t think he’ll have to do that because I think Darrelle is a natural leader.”
McCourty both respected and praised Harrison’s comments. He understands his is an “older guy” who has been around on the team. In his fifth season, McCourty has the most knowledge and experience of the Patriots defense. This is the perfect year for him to step into the role he knows he has to fill. It is just a matter of him going out there and doing it. Rodney Harrison will definitely be watching.