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Monday, November 5, 2012
McCourty & possible move to safety

By Mike Reiss

After acquiring cornerback Aqib Talib in a trade last Thursday, the Patriots now have the flexibility of moving Devin McCourty to safety on a full-time basis.

Bill Belichick was asked about that possibility on Monday.

“I think we’d like to try to be consistent with whatever it is we do,” Belichick said.

NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi said Sunday that the Patriots will permanently move McCourty to safety (link here).

McCourty has played safety the last two games (both wins), and after the Oct. 21 victory over the Jets, Belichick said McCourty’s presence helped settle down the back end of the defense.

On Monday, Belichick said that decisions such as McCourty’s position are tied to the specific matchup that week, which includes the availability of other players health-wise. Sometimes, the longer-term desires of the coaching staff might not be aligned with the short-term goal of winning that week’s game. Other times they are. “You try to balance those two forces,” he said.

Specific to McCourty, Belichick cited his flexibility to play cornerback and safety, both physically and mentally. But there is a trickle-down effect when he’s moved around, and that might be something the Patriots want to avoid.

Hence the idea of settling him in at one position.

“I think he can handle both but I think the more consistent we can be as a unit, that builds their communication [and] the better teamwork between the players involved,” he said.