It looked like the Patriots finally had some decent depth at cornerback in 2013. That could all change very fast.
In the shocker of all shockers, Ras-I Dowling has missed the last few Patriots training camp practices with an undisclosed injury. Alfonzo Dennard was out for two practices while Dowling was gone, and it was quickly apparent how shallow the Patriots could become at cornerback.
Devin McCourty moved down to corner from safety for one practice, and Logan Ryan got increased reps in the next session. It’s nice to have a versatile player like McCourty who can play both positions, but taking the captain away from the back end of the defense to fill in at corner could do more harm than good.
McCourty is better in zone coverage than man. And when cornerbacks are in zone, a team needs two safeties to play back deep. McCourty’s the team’s best option at playing that deep free safety role. Adrian Wilson and Steve Gregory are much better strong safeties, playing in the box, and Tavon Wilson is still unproven playing back deep. Rookie Duron Harmon has looked good playing free safety in training camp practice so far, but he would need another player back there if McCourty was at cornerback.
NESN.com NFL writers Doug Kyed and Luke Hughes discuss what the Patriots could do in the secondary if any cornerbacks miss time. They also go position by position to analyze which players have shined during training camp.
Listen in below.