FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With Devin McCourty, statistics don’t tell the entire story.

Really, they don’t tell half the story of why the seven-year veteran is a vital part of the Patriots’ defense.

Nevertheless, the safety got his due on Tuesday when he was named to the Pro Bowl. This is the second time he’s earned the honor and first as a safety (he was an All-Pro safety in 2013, but not a Pro Bowler). Although he gives credit to his teammates, the honor is well deserved.

“It’s a great honor,” McCourty said. “I think in my case, it speaks volumes of what we’ve done as a defense, as a team. I think my teammates and us just playing at a high level has helped me get nominated, but I think any of our guys in the back end could’ve got nominated. I think it’s still an honor to be voted.”

McCourty heads into Saturday’s game against the New York Jets with 70 tackles, an interception and seven deflected passes. The tackle number is already his most since 2012. The pass deflection total is his most since 2013.

Since McCourty plays free safety, he’s not always filling up the stat sheet. But when he’s providing coverage to double a top receiver and the quarterback doesn’t throw that way, his teammates and coaches take notice.

The same can be said for his top duties as a safety, which are to get everyone in the secondary on the same page and relay what he sees from the opposing offense.

On Wednesday, Coach Bill Belichick said that McCourty gives the defense so much flexibility that there are things the defense couldn’t do if he wasn’t out on the field.

“Devin’s very smart,” Belichick said. “He has great awareness of the entire concept of the defense, what the defense is designed to do, what its strengths are, what it’s taking away, where we’re weak, how to compensate for that. Sometimes we have checks that will get us out of situations that we feel vulnerable in, certain calls. He’s responsible for a lot of that. He gives us great communication and great leadership on and off the field.”

Over the past three weeks, McCourty has made big plays and shown that he’s one of the top safeties in the NFL.

During Sunday’s 16-3 win in Denver, McCourty had one of the plays of the game when he hit Demaryius Thomas so hard the receiver dropped a fourth-down pass with six minutes left in the game that would have given Denver a first down.

When Denver made one final push, the drive ended with McCourty recovering a Jordan Norwood fumble.

The week before against Baltimore, McCourty made a highlight-reel interception against Joe Flacco in the second quarter. The Ravens quarterback tried to hit Mike Wallace deep. The receiver was between Patrick Chung and McCourty, but McCourty, while backpedaling, was able to maintain his balance and come away with the ball.

Three weeks ago against Los Angeles, McCourty had two big pass deflections. The first, in the second quarter, was on third down and McCourty was matched up with the Rams’ No. 1 receiver, Kenny Britt. The second, in the third quarter, saw McCourty covering Britt again.

“His judgment, his decision-making back there, which is a critical part of that position, is key,” Belichick said. “But his coverage ability, his ability to play the run and the pass, play down, play back, play corner in some situations where we have to match a safety up outside on an extended receiver or tight end or something like that, things that he’s done a lot and comfortable with so he gives us a lot of versatility.”


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