Chung’s primary role is at strong safety, but he also can play closer to the line of scrimmage as a linebacker or a slot cornerback or back deep in a Cover-2. McCourty primarily plays free safety, but as a former cornerback, he too can line up at cornerback or play closer to the line of scrimmage as a strong safety.
Because Chung and McCourty move around so often, communication is key in the Patriots’ secondary. Fortunately, Chung, drafted in 2009, and McCourty, selected in 2010, have plenty of experience playing together.
“I love it. I love playing next to Devin,” Chung said Thursday. “Sometimes, I can just look at him, he looks at me and we know what we are talking about. It is like a brain-to-brain conversation. It is a pleasure playing next to him. That’s my boy.”
Because of Chung’s versatility, he might go into a game thinking he’s covering one player, but because of in-game adjustments, he might have to switch midway through the matchup. That flexibility takes a lot of work before the Patriots take the field.
“You just have to do it,” Chung said. “You watch the film, and once the game plan comes in, you can break down your certain plays you might be on. You just have to take it as a compliment, I guess. You just have to go out there and do the best you can.
“If Bill puts me or anyone else in a situation or a role, he trusts you to do that, and you have to go out there and perform. He is not putting you out there in that situation to mess it up. They are going to make plays. They are great players, they get paid, too. But the more you can do, the more plays you can make, and it is fun.”
Chung could have his hands full against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. He specializes at covering tight ends and running backs, which could mean he’ll be matched up against Jesse James or Le’Veon Bell.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images