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McCourty: Beware of the deep ball

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Devin McCourty greeted the media in a press conference this morning.

Here are some quick hits from the session:

Broncos ‘taking more shots’ downfield: In watching the Broncos-Steelers game, McCourty noticed that the offense has been more than willing to go vertical. “They’ve made some changes, you can definitely see with the last game,” he said. “Just taking more shots down the field, they threw some balls up there and they got some guys that can come down with them and catch them. They definitely threw some more vertical passes.”

Tebow a versatile threat: McCourty was asked if he thought Tebow was a good deep-ball passer, and he pointed to Tebow’s pinpoint touchdown throw to receiver Eddie Royal in the second quarter, a 30-yard strike to the back corner of the end zone in tight space – “That pass to Eddie Royal was a small window to get it in there, and it was a pretty good throw,” McCourty said. As for Tebow’s makeup, McCourty described it as unique. “He does so many different things well – running the ball, throwing the ball,” McCourty said. “He’s just dynamic, and when he runs the ball he’s tough to bring down. So, he’s definitely a different type of quarterback.”

Thomas tough to tackle: Another key component in the Broncos’ surging offense has been their other first-round draft pick from 2010, wideout Demaryius Thomas. When it comes to yards after the catch, the second-year man out of Georgia Tech had his way with the Steelers’ secondary, catching four balls for 204 yards and the game-winning overtime score. “He’s a physical guy. He’s a big receiver, and you’ve got to really compete against him,” McCourty said. “If he catches the ball, he’s going to be a tough guy to bring to the ground. I think we watched him in the first game, and what we thought, it played out. He’s a physical guy, had some pretty good catches in that game, and at times he was tough to bring down."

On playing safety in the last game and whether he cares where he lines up: "No, just playing football.”

Biggest difference between playing cornerback and safety?: “You have some things technique-wise, whatever defense we’re in, but it comes down to defending and tackling. It’s different techniques where you line up and do different things. At corner you’re seeing a different angle of the field than a safety, but when it comes down to it, you’re defending somebody, whether you’re reading the quarterback from the middle of the field and tackling.”