McCourty still hopes to turn corner

LANDOVER, Md. -- Second-year Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty knows he hasn't turned in as solid of a season as expected. To his credit, he's been front and center answering questions about his performance while holding himself accountable.

The lastest example came after the Patriots' 34-27 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field.

McCourty had an up-and-down day, with more of an emphasis on the down in the first half. He was in coverage on Donte Stallworth's 51-yard bomb in the first quarter, was called for pass interference on third-and-18, and later was in coverage on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney.

McCourty, who credited his teammates and coaches for staying on him, is still searching for the form that earned him a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie.

"I don't think confidence is a real issue," he said. "[It's] just going out there and being consistent."

McCourty rebounded from the first-half struggles -- he even caught a bad break with an interception negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty -- with a strong second half that included multiple pass break-ups. Could that be the spark he needs to turn the corner?

"I hope so," he answered. "I hope I can take this and keep getting better, and taking it to the next one."

On some plays, McCourty seems to be close in coverage but he's struggling to finish.

"That's the thing about playing defensive back, it's all about the finish," he said. "I think you can find a bunch of DBs anywhere that will be right there. The good ones finish and make plays, so I have to do a better job of it."