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McCourty: Learning from Reed & Byrd

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Film work is a significant part of the Patriots’ offseason program, and as four-year veteran Devin McCourty continues to evolve as a potential long-term fit at safety, he has eyed two of the NFL’s best.

“Watching a guy like Ed Reed, he’s able to do so many different things back there. Jairus Byrd, in Buffalo, since he’s in our division you see a lot of him and he also makes a lot of big plays back there,” McCourty relayed. “I look at those guys as far as just seeing their playmaking ability. A guy like Ed Reed, I always watch and try to see what he’s thinking and what he sees out there. Any time you can watch good football players it will help you.”

McCourty said that type of film work is a big part of players’ daily routine at this time of year. The work also includes watching the Patriots’ own secondary, often times in a light-hearted meeting room.

“We have a bunch of guys that get along and have fun with each other. Once we get past all the cracking jokes and all that stuff, we learn a lot,” he said. “Our coaches really harp on watching film. It helps us know where different guys are going to be, how to play together. You can do so much in that film room and we have a lot of guys who are smart football players and put in the work.”

As for McCourty, who likely will play safety for the Patriots in 2013, he isn’t closing the door on contributing at cornerback, where he earned Pro Bowl honors as a rookie in 2010.

“The last two seasons, I’ve played both positions. I don’t think it would be fair to myself or the team to come in here and only look at one thing,” he said. “It’s coming into the offseason, being a leader, and being able to get better at two positions just in case. You just never know. One thing I’ve learned in this league is that guys go down and you don’t have the luxury or having 60-70 players. You only have what you have, and guys have to be able to move around. I’m going to always be prepared.”