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McCourty & Pats' offseason plan

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss writes on how the Patriots viewed the Devin McCourty safety experiment at the end of the 2011 season and what it means for the team in the offseason team-building process.

The switch came out of nowhere in the New England Patriots' 2011 regular-season finale.

Devin McCourty, a Pro Bowl cornerback as a rookie, was moving to safety for significant snaps. It continued into the playoffs, and in retrospect, the Patriots liked what they saw.

"For not having ever practiced there before, he played pretty well," director of player personnel Nick Caserio said Thursday at the NFL combine.

McCourty's adaptability to the role helped his rocky second season end on a high note, while at the same time sparking questions about whether his future is at cornerback (where he intercepted seven passes as a rookie but slipped noticeably in 2011) or safety (where he helped stabilize a shaky situation).

It is a decision that could possibly affect the Patriots' approach this offseason in free agency and the draft, where the corner crop is considered deeper than safety.

To read the piece, CLICK HERE.