Sep 21, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) celebrates with safety Devin McCourty (32) and cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) after an interception during the fourth quarter against Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
5. Devin McCourty
His stats aren’t gaudy (seven total tackles, one pick), and aside from his week two interception, he hasn’t really popped off the screen. But his leadership, and ability to keep everything in front of him has made this pass defense number one in the NFL.
Darrelle Revis, Logan Ryan, and Alfonzo Dennard get credit with the solid coverage in front of him, but if it weren’t for McCourty’s security in the back, I guarantee they would not cover as well as they do. McCourty’s presence allows everybody in front of him to play tighter, more aggressive coverage, because they know he will bail them out if they get beat.
The longest completion the Pats have given up through week three is a 29-yard reception by Andre Holmes last week. They have only given up six completions of 20 yards or more, and a lot of the credit in doing that has to be given to McCourty, as he continues to prove why he is one of the best safeties in the league.