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Sun., Mar. 29, 2015 12:00 AM to 10:59 PM EDT
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Devin McCourty Press Conference Transcript
Q: Tell us a little bit about Dez Bryant. What stands out for you?
DM: I think this biggest thing that jumps out is his athletic ability. He's able to play [anywhere] on the field. He can go deep. When he catches the ball short, he's able to break tackles. I think he's really, even if you watch on his punt returns, when he gets the ball in his hands he can go the distance. Good speed and good strength. He's a guy even when he catches the ball short we really have to rally to him and gang tackle him and try to get him on the ground as soon as possible.
Q: You guys have faced a couple of really good, big receivers so far this season. Bill Belichick mentioned Dez Bryant is almost like a tight end. Can you take what you learned so far this year against those receivers and bring it forth this week?
DM: Somewhat. With Dez and Miles Austin, they're both bigger, stronger guys. It always helps that it's not the first time you've seen it. Going against different guys this season who have been those bigger-type of receivers, you can use some of what they did against us and how they played. I think the biggest thing is just the physical nature of the bigger receivers - most of the time they're bigger than the corners they're facing so they try to use that to their advantage.
Q: What's the biggest challenge for you guys as far as the Cowboys' collective talent on offense?
DM: It's definitely a tough job. Both of their tight ends are very good in the pass game. Then they have two receivers that are good at getting vertical but also bigger guys that can catch the ball short and break tackles. Probably on the whole, as a group, it's going to be a very tough challenge.
Q: Talk about the challenge of Tony Romo's ability not just as a passer, but his ability once he gets outside the pocket to make the pass?
DM: He's very mobile. He moves around a lot. No play is really ever dead with Romo - even when guys get to him, he's able to escape. I think the biggest thing is once he escapes, he's not always looking to just take off and run. A lot of times he gets outside [and] he's still trying to throw the ball down the field. He has the ability, to really, no matter which side he is on -- left or right -- he can turn his shoulders and get the ball vertical. So in the secondary, we have to stay on our guys and stay ready no matter what he does back there.
Q: Is it a confidence booster to be able to make some plays and string some good plays together?
DM: I think the biggest confidence booster we're getting is in practice each week. We're practicing better as a defense and I think it's showing on Sundays. Right now, we're just trying to keep that going - keep having good practices, putting it together and it will give us the confidence to go out there on Sundays and play confident, trust our abilities, trust what we did all week and just go out there and play good defense.
Q: The last couple of weeks, you've played pretty well. What has changed for you?
DM: I don't know what's changed but just trying to, like I said, practice hard, keep studying film, what I've been doing and taking the confidence that I'm getting in practice and playing well and just trying to take it over to the field and helping this team anyway I can. I think just like last year as a player, just trying to improve each week, that's my biggest focus right now - keep improving and helping this team out.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge for you making the jump from last year to now, in terms of your preparation and what you're seeing on film?
DM: Just trying to be more consistent. Last year, just going out there and playing as rookie and this year, having more knowledge and trying to use everything I've learned and put it into my game and put it on the field. Now it's just being consistent with everything I have in my book that I've learned from other guys, learned from playing here and doing it each play and each game. That's the real toughest challenge I think as I progress and keep playing, I think that will continue to be a challenge, just each week putting it together and being consistent.
Q: What about the expectations factor? As a rookie, no one knows what to expect. But when you had the rookie season you had, there's a different level of expectations as opposed to last year.
DM: Expectations are always going to be there. As a player, your expectations are always higher than anybody else has for you. I just keep telling myself: keep playing, keep doing what I've been doing preparing as a player and being ready to go and as long as you keep playing hard and I think sticking at it, you'll continue to get better and play well.
Q: Do you feel like you're getting thrown at more this year than last year?
DM: Not really. I know we talk about it all the time in the locker room - when you play the corner position, they're either going to throw to one side or the other side. Usually both sides are going to get balls thrown at them.
Q: A lot of teams, including you guys, go to the no-huddle a lot. What does that do to you as a defensive back?
DM: I think each no-huddle team is different but it tries to speed you up. I think it's important to settle down when you're out there as a defense and understand what the team is trying to do with their no-huddle. If you get the chance to see it on film and watch them, you try to learn how they're trying to attack with the no-huddle, what they're trying to do, whether it's in the run game or passing game. When they're going that fast, there are certain things they can do. I think the biggest thing is being prepared for it and knowing its coming.
Q: How much behind-the-scenes work has Jerod Mayo continued to do with the defense?
DM: Mayo continues to be the leader he's been since I got here - helping guys out, doing all the little things he can do and I think he'll continue to do that as a captain of this team. Just talking to guys and his being there, having his presence.
Q: When you talk about learning from guys, are you talking about players here or maybe somebody outside the organization?
DM: Mostly just guys here. We have different guys that have been playing football for awhile, like Leigh [Bodden] and the different safeties we have back there with [Patrick] Chung and James [Ihedigbo]. Just learning from those guys and putting it together.
Q: In the past two weeks, it seems like you guys have been giving up less passing yardage as well as playing more zone defense. Do you think that fits better?
DM: Here it's the game plan. Sometimes we're in zone, sometimes we're in man. You do different things and I think as a secondary player, we try to just improve each one of those techniques. Whatever we're playing in, however we're using it, as a focus of ours, we're going in there, pass yards are down. That's our job, we have to keep that down and keep playing well.
Q: What would you credit to less passing yardage in the last two weeks?
DM: Better play. Guys are making more plays. We're getting off the field. We have to continue doing that. It's not easy, but it's simple - you play better and those yards and stuff will go down.
Q: Did the Cowboys talk to you during your draft process?