FOXBORO, Mass. — Cornerback Devin McCourty has been one of the Patriots' shining performers through the first week of training camp, making it abundantly evident that he's ready to continue the pace he set last season as a rookie.
Of course, McCourty has the advantage of squaring off against some of the NFL's elite talent on a daily basis in practice. He was thrown into the fire immediately last year when he lined up against Randy Moss — who torched McCourty for at least a solid week before the rookie caught up to speed — and now McCourty has the opportunity to learn from new acquisition Chad Ochocinco.
Naturally, Tom Brady has been back there through it all, and Wes Welker and Deion Branch have been equally important assets. That's why, when McCourty was asked how he can improve upon a tremendous first season, he can give an array of answers.
"Pick up things, and work the profession," McCourty said. "As a [defensive back], you'll never get it, but when you're going against Tom Brady every day in practice, and Deion and Ochocinco, we're just trying to get better. For me, it's just working against those guys and trying to make plays out here in practice."
McCourty also offered his assessment of the first few days of his working relationship with Ochocinco.
"Oh, I mean, he's a good receiver," McCourty said. "Learning from him and going out there and competing against a guy who has been doing it in this league for so long, I'm learning different things every day."