FOXBORO — The Patriots’ secondary entered Sunday’s game against the Jets at a distinct disadvantage, with cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe out of action because of injuries.

But the safeties came to the rescue.

Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon were all on the field for long stretches in the 24-17 victory, and no one was happier about the increased emphasis on the position than Harmon.

”I like it,” he said Monday at Gillette Stadium. “Why not? Put us out there. It just lets you know we’re a versatile group.”

Safety has become an almost undefinable position for the Patriots, in that all of them are not limited to the traditional roles of “strong” and “free.” McCourty and Chung are both playing hybrid roles that incorporate part of both, and Harmon says it’s quite the accomplishment.

“Patrick is doing a great job at the ‘star,’ ” he said. “Literally, I don’t know too many safeties, strong safeties out there that can go from playing in the box and covering tight ends and tackling to going out and covering slot receivers and covering them at the consistency and the level he’s covering them at.

“It just shows you literally you can put Dev in there and then even (Jordan Richards) came in there and played well for us yesterday, too, so any time you get all those type of safeties and production out of those safeties like that, that’s a good thing,” he added.

Harmon had three tackles and a crucial pass defense in the game, and he said that overall, it was a solid performance — with room for improvement.

”The most important thing is we won,” he said. “That’s always good. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect. You’re going to learn each game. It’s never as good as it is. It’s never as bad as it is. But we can learn.

“The effort was good,” he continued. “We all flew to the ball. We tackled well. (We) had a couple plays we wish we could get back, but at the end of the day we played with a lot of effort.”

But he emphasized that by no means can he consider Sunday’s effort as evidence of a finished product.

“I feel we’re in a good spot,” he said. “I feel that we’ve still got to get better, though. We can all say that we probably left plays out there in our first six games that we don’t want to leave out there. We want to continue to get better, and we want to get more versatile. Maybe it’s me, playing short safety or maybe it’s Dev playing ‘star.’ Just keeping the offense on their toes, and not letting them realize what we’re in.”

He said it’s important that the Patriots continue to devote themselves to fine-tuning the product, because the schedule doesn’t get any easier — starting with Sunday night’s rematch of Super Bowl LI, the visit of the Atlanta Falcons for a nationally-televised game (8:30 p.m., NBC).

“It’s crucial because, I mean, you want to be a lot better at the end of the season, the 14th or 15th game, then you are in the sixth game,” he said. “It’s all about improvement, making constant progress, not being the same on the film, and each and every day continuing to get better, continuing learning from the mistakes.

“And when you do that, that’s what great defenses do,” he said. “They continue to get better each and every week. They’re not good the first four weeks and then they level off. We didn’t start the way we wanted to this year, but I really believe we’re making good progress and we’re going to continue to make good progress.”

Progress is also being shown in the most important area — the team’s record. But having more wins than losses is no reason to coast, Harmon added.

“It says that we’re a hungry team, a team that’s not satisfied,” he said. “In some situations, a lot of teams would be happy to be 4-2. But we’re not because we know we left a lot of plays out there defensively. We know we can play better, we’re going to play better, and we know we can do some better things on defense that can help our team win more games.”

Mark Farinella may be reached at 508-236-0315 or on Twitter at @sunchronsports.