Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, January 26, 2012.
Q: How was the first practice of preparation for the Super Bowl?
DM: It was practice; got out there running around. After a couple days off it was good to get back out there and go over some things and just work on our techniques and get ready to go.
Q: Does the consistency that you guys have over the course of the season help you guys?
DM: Yeah, definitely. As a player here, you kind of know what to expect when we go into any practice, whether it be a bye week, a big game during the season, a playoff game, in this case the Super Bowl, we kind of know what to expect from practice. We're going to out and working hard. Practice is always going to be what it's going to be. It's never going to be something special because of a different game or anything. Coach Belichick always keeps us practicing hard and going at it.
Q: Have you been picking the brains of guys who have been to the Super Bowl to see what it's like so you can get everything in order?
DM: Just certain things that don't even have to do with the game, little things that [have to] do with game but mostly the things we're just getting out of the way of all the structural things with your family and all that. We worried about that Tuesday and Wednesday and got that out of the way so now we can just go ahead and play.
Q: Can you talk about the dynamics of the Giants' passing game that you're seeing right now as opposed to when you played several weeks ago?
DM: I think one big difference for us is Hakeem Nicks wasn't playing so it kind of changed how they played compared to how they're playing now. They have a great quarterback. Eli [Manning] has been doing a great job; if you just look at his numbers throughout the season especially toward the end of the season and the playoffs. For us in the secondary, they have three phenomenal receivers. They made plays all throughout the playoffs, whether [Victor] Cruz, [Mario] Manningham or Nicks. I think if you put those guys together with a quarterback like that, they create so many different matchup problems that throughout any playoff game they're taking advantage. That's why you see so many different guys have big games each of the different games. I think just to prepare for all those guys is the toughest thing.
Q: Are you surprised that Greg Schiano is going to be the Buccaneers head coach?
DM: Is that final? I don't know. Before we went to practice I just heard rumors. Is it final?
Q: I don't know if it's final.
DM: He's a great coach so I'm not surprised. If he was offered the opportunity, he'll do a great job.
Q: What about him would make him a good pro coach?
DM: Just the way he goes about everything. He was always a professional while I was there and that's how he ran the program.
Q: Is this the most balanced offense you'll face all year?
DM: Yeah, probably. It's hard to think about all the games we've played so far. Looking at their offense, with [Ahmad] Bradshaw, [Brandon] Jacobs and [D.J.] Ware in the backfield, just when you think about especially Jacobs' and Ware's ability to catch balls out of the backfield and you put that together with the receivers they have, everybody can make a catch. The biggest thing is all those guys after they get the ball in their hands they're dangerous. It's definitely going to be a very balanced attack that we're facing.
Q: Where is the focus defensively for you guys? Is it with Eli Manning first?
DM: It's kind of hard, like you said, with a balanced offense to pick one thing and zero in and say, ‘Let's just stop this and the rest while take care of itself.' We have to play good, total overall defense. Up front we have to do a good job getting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run and in the secondary we have to cover. We're going to have to have a good defensive effort but that's natural in the biggest game of the year going against the best team we've played all year, you have to play your best.
Q: What's been the most surprising thing for you about playing safety?
DM: Honestly, the biggest surprise I think is just looking at the field. I think I've said it before, just the different angle and a different vantage point and view I have looking at the field compared to when I was at corner. So making that adjustment and trying to be more vocal and relaying a bunch of things to the guys, whereas when you're at corner you're not really talking as much but at safety trying to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Q: Is there anything you've learned about the safety position that has helped you when you play corner?
DM: Yeah, a little bit. I think just walking in their shoes, seeing how they feel on different coverages, different things we do. Just seeing it from the safety standpoint just gives me a better vantage point when I go back out at corner I know where those guys will be and what they're thinking where my guy maybe runs some kind of route and whatever route number two runs. The biggest thing is I know they're looking at a combination; I'm looking at one guy usually.
Q: Can you compare your performance last year to this year?
DM: I don't think that will really do anything to help myself to play this game. I think the focus is watching that first game we played, watching these guys throughout the end of the season to prepare to go.