Bill Belichick Has Interesting Take On This Crazy Devin McCourty Stat

'(He) plays with good fundamentals, which is another way to stay healthy'

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November 29, 2022

FOXBORO, Mass. — Devin McCourty will make his 200th start for the New England Patriots this Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills, placing him in an exclusive NFL club.

The veteran safety will be the 90th player in league history to start 200 career games and just the 24th to do so for a single franchise. He already ranks third all-time on the Patriots’ games played list, trailing only Tom Brady and Matthew Slater.

McCourty also holds another rare distinction: Despite playing one of the game’s more physically demanding positions and being on the field for nearly every defensive snap on an annual basis, the 35-year-old has not missed a game since Week 16 of the 2015 season. He’s appeared in 120 straight, including playoffs, starting each one and playing more than 90% of defensive snaps in all but 16.

“It’s pretty good,” head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday when asked about that streak. “I don’t know exactly how many other players can say that. But he trains hard. He works very hard. It’s not by accident.”

Belichick said McCourty’s durability is a testament to both his elite physical conditioning and his textbook fundamentals. By typically taking proper angles and not tackling with poor form, the Patriots coach said, he’s been able to rack up 380 tackles over the last seven seasons without accumulating any major injuries.

McCourty has been listed as questionable for just three games since the start of the 2016 season.

“He puts in a lot of time, puts in a lot of training,” Belichick said. “He’s in top condition all the time, and he takes care of himself. And (he) plays with good fundamentals, which is another way to stay healthy. He plays with good, solid fundamentals as a tackler and taking on blockers, things like that, which is another good way to preserve on those hits if you do it the right way. Use your leverage, use your strength. He does that.”

Belichick also lauded McCourty for his overall contributions to the Patriots, calling him “a tremendous asset to this organization and me personally.”

“He’s been a team captain and leader of our defense really since the day he got here, even though he started off at corner and moved to safety,” Belichick said. “That was a transition that he made very well. He’s played well for us in the kicking game. He was a high-production kicking-game player until recently. We’ve kind of pulled back a little bit on him. But his communication, his leadership, his work ethic, his training on and off the field — we’re very fortunate to have him and have had him. He’s been a great asset to this organization.”

Kickoff for Thursday’s Patriots-Bills clash is set for 8:15 p.m. ET.

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