Patriots’ Defense Excited About Pass-Rush Potential, Working to Improve Upon Performance Against Buccaneers

FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty had a lot of fun watching film over the weekend because he couldn't get enough of the clips that showed the dominance of New England's front seven.

McCourty said it motivated the players in the secondary to perform at a higher level since the defense has so much potential this season.

"We got sacks," McCourty said. "We got some altered throws. As a secondary player, you notice that, and then the best part is when you go back and you get to watch film and we see those guys getting after it up front and getting after the quarterback."

Now, the Patriots' defense can be even more complementary in all three levels.

"Those guys have been doing a great job up front," McCourty said. "Right now, as a secondary member, I'm just trying to do my job and covering guys. That's what we're trying to do in the secondary — keep up our end of the bargain with going hand in hand."

The Patriots were tenacious against the Buccaneers, registering three sacks, four tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, one interception and five pass defenses. They rotated a host of players up front to stay fresh, and defensive end Andre Carter, defensive end Mark Anderson, defensive end Eric Moore, linebacker Jerod Mayo and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork were able to sustain the most pressure in the Bucs' backfield.

The Patriots had a chance to get back to work Monday with their first padded practice since the victory against Tampa Bay. And with practices now closed to the media and public, it's certain they'll be able to work on more complex designs.

The Pats notched two sacks last year when they beat the Lions on Thanksgiving. Detroit has a young and improving offensive line, which only surrendered 27 quarterback takedowns in 2010 after yielding an average of 53 sacks from 2006-09.

"Any football player that's aggressive loves to attack," Wilfork said. "So at times, it calls for us to attack, and at times, it calls for us to sit back and play some good technique. But I was always told, when the coach gives you leeway to go make a play, you better make it count."

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