FOXBORO, Mass. — Unless the Patriots are looking to get burned by Tyreek Hill’s deep speed, which would be inadvisable, New England should rely on multiple sets of eyes to keep track of the Kansas City Chiefs receiver Sunday night.
It would make the most sense to have veteran cornerback Jason McCourty cover Hill at the line of scrimmage with a safety back deep in zone coverage or to double or bracket the speedy wideout. Devin McCourty, Jason’s twin, and Duron Harmon share deep responsibilities at free safety in the Patriots’ secondary, so at least one of those players will be protecting the deep half of the field. The Patriots even could use both players in a Cover-2 or Cover-2 man to ensure they don’t allow any big plays to the Chiefs’ high-powered offense.
Jason McCourty is new to the Patriots’ defense, but head coach Bill Belichick has been pleased with how he’s communicated with the rest of the secondary.
“Good. Yeah, really good,” Belichick said Friday. “Jason’s a good communicator. He’s got good awareness. He’s a smart player, has a lot of experience. Even though he’s new to us, he’s not new to the NFL. He’s not new to offensive systems. He’s not new to some of the coverages that we run. …. It’s not like it’s all new to him. He’s picked up things up very well, communicates well.”
If it’s Jason and Devin McCourty teaming up to cover Hill, they could use some twin magic. And that’s a very real thing on the football field.
“They can read each others’ body language or kind of say one — give one little motion, one word, one little wink and they know what it means,” Belichick said. “That’s a good thing. Sometimes you can have a full conversation with somebody, and there’s a misunderstanding. Sometimes you just look at somebody and they know what you’re thinking, you know what they’re thinking and it makes it a lot easier that way.”
After Devin McCourty allowed nine catches on 10 targets for 98 yards with two touchdowns in Week 5 to Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron, the Patriots probably will want to keep him away from Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The Patriots most likely will deploy safety Patrick Chung against Kelce. When Devin McCourty plays near the line of scrimmage, he’ll be covering running back Kareem Hunt. And when he’s back deep, he’ll be helping out on Hill, whether it’s Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones or Stephon Gilmore covering who the Patriots have described as the fastest player in the NFL.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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