Logan Ryan (26) will be one of the younger members of the secondary asked to step up this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — The Patriots’ secondary will look a lot different this coming season, as opposed to last year’s Super Bowl winning squad.
Arguably their two best cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner departed via free agency, to the Jets and Saints respectively. Without adding any major players to their secondary in free agency, it would seem the team will go into 2015 with some of the younger players stepping up and taking on more responsibility.
Defensive captain Devin McCourty is already moving on from having Revis roaming the secondary with him.
“Who? We’re past that,” McCourty said jokingly. “No, we’re still friends.”
With the two starting corners departing, some of the younger up-and-coming players on the defense will now need to step up in Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and possibly Alfonzo Dennard.
McCourty said he believes in those guys, as he’s seen the hard work they’ve been putting in.
“I’m excited for all those guys,” he said. “They’ve put in a lot of work. I was in Arizona with Logan for a little while and since I met him when he was freshman in college he’s always one of the guys putting in extra work trying to get better. I think Malcolm is a guy, he came in last year really not knowing anything to expect and now making a great play in the Super Bowl, I think it’s exciting for him. For all those guys, when you’re young in the NFL you just want to try and learn as much as you can year in and year out. I don’t think they should worry what everyone will try and ask them, just try and get better.”
Although they may not be the biggest of names — the organization did sign a few veterans to potentially help out the secondary. Chimd Chekwa, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain are all cornerbacks who have joined the team this offseason.
Being the most experienced member in the secondary, as well as a captain, McCourty knows it’s his job to get those players acclimated to playing in New England.
“We just worked out. There’s been no 1-on-1 meetings or anything like that,” said McCourty. “I think the great thing is once you get on the football field and we start talking scheme and everything — right now it’s all about working out and trying to get better along those lines. Once we start talking about scheme, I am just a guy that tries to be another way to explain things and say things.
“Sometimes I think players can relate to players a little easier than a coach lecture or talk about it. I think I try to always be that bridge so that we can get everyone on the same page. At the end of the day we have to make sure all the players on the field are thinking the same way. If we can do that we have a chance to be good.”
Personally for McCourty, he could have been a free agent himself, but just before free agency was set to begin he and the Patriots struck a deal. The Rutgers product is happy to stay in New England and now it’s all about football.
“I think it’s finally now just all about playing football and I think the best thing is I get to be back with the same guys that I started the journey with,” McCourty said. “I love my teammates here. I love how hard we work with everything we get done. It was exciting to be back in the offseason program and being a leader, trying to lead these guys.”