Soundbites from Devin McCourty

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty answered questions from reporters today.

Some quick hits:

On the defense. "It feels like we're getting better. I think the important thing right now is we grow as a unit, grow as a defensive team, being on the same page. I think that's coming along and it's encouraging."

Opening of the season three weeks from tonight. "I know at this point we're not ready. Hopefully we keep working and these next three weeks it will all come together and be good enough to go out and play in our season opener."

On the difference between this year and being a rookie. "Just having a little better understanding of the defense, of what's going around me on offense. I think just being a better prepared player has helped me kind of understand the game of football more. I feel like this year I can do more things as a player, not just as a corner, but to help the defense out as a whole."

Leadership in the secondary. "I think we all kind of feed off each other. Especially last year at the cornerback position, we didn't really have any true veteran, so I think we all kind of lean on each other at different times, helping each other out with our knowledge. The biggest thing is we rely on each other. I think it all comes back to trying to be on the same page."

How the secondary has grown. "We feel like we have more experience and kind of being out there, you learn more. But I think we still all have that little edge, and feel that there is a lot more to learn."

Preparing to face Calvin Johnson in Detroit. "He's a great receiver. Any time you have a guy of his caliber, with the physical talents he has, you have to be prepared and ready to go. Any time I was on him it was tough. He's a guy who can stretch you vertical down the field and he's a guy that will make big, amazing catches."

On improving in his second season. "Hopefully. I don't think you can kind of come back and be the same player. You either get better or get worse, and my focus is on trying to get better as a player."