Earlier this week, Patriots safety Devin McCourty told the Philadelphia media that it takes a special player to covert from cornerback to safety, which is a process he is very familiar with. He made that exact transition in 2012, two years after he was drafted in the first round by New England.
It's one of the reasons he has enjoyed watching film of Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond, both of whom have also switched positions and become safeties. McCourty sees a lot of similarities between their styles of play and his, which is why he has such an appreciation for their techniques on the field.
"You have to have a good understanding (of the game). You've obviously got to be good, physical, strong tacklers to move because at safety you're in different situations than you are at corner," McCourty explained. "I think both of those guys really help with their coverage ability, putting them in tough spots that you really normally wouldn't have safeties do. Both those guys go out there and do those things at high levels and I've been able to see them a lot through common opponents."
However, this week the safety has been more focused on preparing for the Eagles' offense. He and his teammates know they need to be ready for a number of players.
McCourty believes the Eagles' depth is what makes them a difficult team to defend.
"I think that's what's tough about them. You really can't go out there and say I'm only going to stop one or two guys because either (Sam) Bradford or (Mark) Sanchez, whoever is out there, they do a good job of running the offense and finding open guys," he said. "Obviously all three backs are really good. (Zach) Ertz and (Brent) Celek have made a ton of plays when you combine the amount of catches and yards they have. It's a top tight end combination, and even with their receivers, they all go deep.
"(Jordan) Matthews has a lot of targets. You know he sticks out for them, but whether it's Riley Cooper, (Josh) Huff, (Nelson) Agholor, they're all out there making plays. It's hard to really focus on one or two guys. I think this is a league where we all have to do our job and play together to stop whoever the go-to guys is or whoever the specific player is."
Click here to hear McCourty's full conference call or press play on the video above.