- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bags were packed and ready in the locker room on Friday morning, as the Patriots prepare for their trip cross-country to Seattle later this afternoon.
Passing along some of the sights and sounds from Friday prior to the team's departure:
1. McCourty focused on vertical passing game. Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty understands that the Seahawks' offense is about much more than just running back Marshawn Lynch, a terrific weapon from the backfield. Specifically, McCourty stressed the importance of defending the downfield passing game, which involves receivers including Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.
"Definitely that's one challenge with Sidney Rice. He has good height and good size to go up and get the ball, and Golden Tate doesn't have that size, but he does a great job going up and getting the ball," McCourty said. "As you watch, he's really made some great plays down the field, just like that play he made in Green Bay. It was thrown up when he went up there, he went up and competed for the ball. We'll just have to go out there and compete with them and make plays down the field and when they catch the ball and different plays, just tackle them and get them down to the ground."
The Patriots will face a rookie quarterback for the first time this season in Russell Wilson, but his performance through five games hasn't been entirely indicative of a young player. McCourty talked about his ablity to hurt a defense with both his arm and his legs.
"He does a great job getting outside of the pocket and making plays, so I think we'll have to do some different things," he said of Wilson. "You don't want to just attack, attack him, and he's able to get outside, break a tackle, and once he sees a lot of open field he has pretty good speed and good athleticism to make a play with his legs and then throwing the ball. We're just trying to do some different things to attack him and give him different looks."
2. DE Jones talks containing Wilson. Building off of McCourty's comments, rookie defensive end Chandler Jones also added that containing Wilson in the pocket will be critical.
"You just have to stay in their rush lanes," he said. "Everyone has to do their job, and contain him, make sure he doesn't get out of the pocket."
Jones said that the Seahawks have a strong offensive line, and he'll likely align opposite from left tackle Russell Okung, the Seahawks' top pick in 2010.
"Okung is a great left tackle, he's a good player," he said. "He's a high draft pick, and my job is to get after him and make sure he has a hard day of it."
3. Jones not competing with Irvin. The Seahawks went defensive with their top pick in 2012, snagging pass-rushing maven Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia. Irvin and Jones stack up as the top two rookies in terms of sacks so far in 2012 (Irvin has 4.5, Jones 3.0), though it could be argued that Jones has been the more productive overall player in the early goings.
When asked if he competes with Irvin, who was drafted six spots ahead of Jones, the Patriots rookie offered: "I don't compete. I compete with no one but myself."