FOXBORO -- Patriots defensive backs didn't sugarcoat it after their Week 4 loss to the Panthers. Maybe they need to watch more film. Maybe they need to meet more. Maybe they need to work harder. What happened against Carolina, they insisted, can't happen again.
Devin McCourty said on Tuesday that the secondary has been working overtime since then. Extra film sessions. Extra meetings. They even did a walkthrough before Tuesday's walkthrough.
"That's all it's been. That's all it's been," McCourty said of the extra work. "We were able to watch film in there. We just finished watching film again. We were able to walk through before the walkthrough.
"One thing I know about here is when things aren't going right, we're not going to sit around and hope it gets better. We're going to attack it and do everything we can to make it better. We've met. We've walked through. We walked through again. We gotta keep doing that and then we gotta go play well Sunday.
"We're not sitting around. We're not talking about a team that's been sitting around scratching our heads for four weeks. We've been getting after it. We've been watching film, doing things. We need to go play well on game day, too. That's a part of being a good football team, good players, is that when it's time to go play and turn what you practice what you watch into game reality, we gotta go do that.
"To me, I'm anxious and excited about that part of it. We don't have a group that doesn't know hard work and just wants to come in and sit around. We have a hard-working group of guys, but it's time to show up, make plays and play better."
Part of playing better, McCourty explained is sticking to your assignment. He admitted that when there are issues, sometimes players may feel as though they have to do something in order to make up for whatever it is the player next to him might (or might not) do.
"That's very dangerous," he said. "That's why we're meeting. That's why we're going over things. So that it doesn't turn into that where now a guys unsure of what's going to happen so he's trying to do this and that. That'll never work . . .
"That's why Monday's so key. Maybe the next team's not like that team, but maybe that comes up later in the season or maybe it comes back up next week. That's why it's important to correct those things for that reason. So we're not sitting there [and] there's a guy saying, 'Man, I remember this formation, we got this last week, and I didn't know what was going to happen and I still don't.' That's why you wanna go over it. That's when you say, 'All right, we messed it up on this play but the next time it comes up, let's get it right so we can still play fast.' "
McCourty said there's no drastic changes coming to the Patriots secondary in terms of how players playing in that area of the field communicate. But he acknowledged that the manner in which the team has played of late will change.
It has to.
"I think everything in football is correctable," McCourty said. "Especially if you have a group that you feel you have some good football players. We have a talented group, so I always think that's correctable.
"I also think that you watch the NFL, you see teams that are last go to first. You see that all the time. It's because of putting the time and the work in. As I sit here and say it's correctable, but it's up to us to correct it. It's not going to just correct itself. It's really on us, getting it done. I think we're on the right path. But like I always say, being on the right path, you don't know until you go out there and do it in the game."