McCourty and Verner have been two very solid corners; however, there is going to be a difference in 2013. We are switching the role of the corners to more press style instead of straight zone coverage. This is a major difference for the two corners.
The secondary has been notorious for giving up easy plays because Jerry Gray has had the two corners backed ten yards off of the wide receivers before the play begins. That helps prevent the big play but allows picking up 1st down to be very easy. By changing to this scheme, it is going to require three things from the defense:
1. Strong press and man coverage by the corners. They cannot get beat off of the line of scrimmage, but they will at times because they are human beings; nevertheless, they will have to minimize the chances for the big play with strong coverage.
2. Strong pass rush. The front seven has to get to the quarterback faster. His receivers will eventually get open, and if he is not being pressured, he will make easy completions. Wimbley, Morgan, and Co. are going to need to step up the pass rush big time in 2013.
3. Alert safety play. This is where George Wilson comes in handy. We know that Michael Griffin is lost in coverage at times and bites on play action, and we know that Bernard Pollard is not very good at covering; however, they are going to have to be more alert and ready to cover the receivers after McCourty and Verner get beaten. George Wilson is a very solid coverage safety. We will not have to worry about him getting lost in his zone and letting Andre Johnson fly right past him. It's just good 'ole Michael Griffin that may have a lapse in coverage on these plays.
This new press coverage by the corners will definitely help this defense out. Fortunately, both of them are fast players that probably will not be burned very often. Look for this defense to be strong by the secondary. But if the corners don't develop their press abilities, this could be a long season.