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Devin McCourty Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jan 8, 2014

New England Patriots DB Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

Q: When there’s no next game, does it change the mindset or attitude?

DM: I think so. I think it changes everything. It goes without saying, we’re putting everything we have into this game. We know it’s going to be a tough game. Sixty minutes; we’re going to have play good throughout this whole game to try to get a win. We feel like if we put everything into this and we come out with a win, there will be a next week and we’ll re-group and get ready to put everything into that week. But right now at this point in the season, there’s no reason to save anything. There’s no tomorrow for us, that’s how we’re going to go out there and play.

Q: Can you describe the challenge for guys in the secondary not to bite when Andrew Luck starts to move up and around in the pocket?

DM: Yeah, I think it’s key we stay in coverage. Every time we play a quarterback that’s mobile, especially a quarterback like him that’s mobile that has a big arm, it’s key to myself and other guys in the deep part of the field [to] stay deep because the receivers when he starts scrambling, they either go deep or they come back to him. We don’t want everyone up there worried about the short routes or worried about them running and one of their guys gets behind us and that’s just an easy play. He can just chuck the ball deep and that’s a touchdown. That will be key. Our d-line really understands about trying to keep him in the pocket but it’s hard. When you’ve got a guy that’s good like that, he might escape the pocket a couple times and when he does we’re going to have get our receivers [and] match their routes and plaster to them, just stay on them and let whoever is free go get him and try to get him on the ground.

Q: Any calls to your brother this week? He plays the Colts twice a year.

DM: Of course.

Q: What does he share with you?

DM: He really just tells me the notes that they gather. I think it’s big when you play someone twice a year, you understand more about them than I understand just from a personnel standpoint. He sends me everything he has and I texted him before and said, ‘Whenever you have time, send me over the Colts notes,’ and he sent them to me. I have some good things in there and some things we already knew. It’s always good, I think he really studies a lot so I get some notes that he takes just from watching film to get his perspective on things.

Q: You play in different schemes. What can you take from there that really applies?

DM: I think tendencies, what they do as an offense a little bit. What we really talk about a lot is the players: how he felt a player was, what he felt he did well when he watched film and we’re both in the secondary so we talk about the receivers, the tight ends, the backs. I think that’s a key part of it, just getting someone else’s idea of their personnel.

Q: Is there one thing that they do better than anybody else that you’ve played?

DM: Like I said yesterday, I think their will, their will to win the game. I feel like when we’re engaged, I feel like we have that edge that when we get in the game that there’s never going to be a point in the game that we feel like we’re just down or out of it. We always talk about defensively if our offense is on the field last or if we’re on the field last, we feel like we’re going to get the win. I think that’s what’s going to make this game tough because I truly believe they feel the same way. I think it’s going to be a great game for four quarters. You’re going to see two teams give it everything they have.

Q: You’ve been at safety for a while but can you talk about how difficult it was to make that change?

DM: It was just different. I think the best part of it was this offseason getting a chance to really study it, sit in all the safety meetings, meet with my safety coach, Coach Flo [Brian Flores] and go over the different things that not just playing the position but some of the advantages and the skill set that I have and what I can bring to the position so I thought that was key. Once I was able to switch and continue to get reps at it, it wasn’t too bad at all.

Q: How comfortable are you now?

DM: I’m comfortable. It feels like a natural position now. It’s just going out there each week trying to see what kind of plays I can make and how I can help the defense.

Q: What made Andrew Luck so effective last week even though everyone knew he was going to be passing?

DM: I think that’s what makes all the great quarterbacks good. Coach [Bill] Belichick talks about that all the time: the hard part is getting it done when you know what’s going to happen. I think he just had an understanding of the defense when you watch. He knew where he wanted to go with the ball, he knew how and when he wanted to get it. [If] they took away his first read, he just moved on to his second read and didn’t try to make it all at once. He just took his time, went down the field, took what the defense gave him and really just played smart. I think what we talk about here: took it one play at a time.

Q: You guys have come back several times this season too. What are some of the keys to getting yourself back into a game?

DM: Just one play at a time, offensively and defensively each guy on that field just doing what he can do. Not thinking, ‘We’re down a lot of points, I have to make this big play.’ Usually when you do that, you give up another big play. It’s guys just doing the little things out there on the field, doing their job and it will come together. Once you can swing momentum and have a couple plays roll your way you’re just playing football from there on out.

Q: Andrew Luck has lowered his interceptions this year. What’s the biggest thing you’ve seen in terms of his decision making year one to two?

DM: I think, like all players, once you play another year in the league you get a full year under your belt, you see things. Not everything is the first time you have to see it. I think that’s what happened for him. He’s a quarterback, I’m sure he studies a lot of film. I think now it’s just a progression. He gets to see more things and things aren’t fooling him. He understands what’s going on in the game. I think it’s harder as a rookie you have so much to worry about. Each week you’re playing a different team that might be doing something different. I think once you get a full year under your belt, you’ve seen more defenses, you understand more of what you want to do as an offense. I think same thing with guys on our team, some of the young rookies, you see them start playing better at the end of the season I think because they have more experience, they’ve seen things and now it’s just their natural abilities going out there playing.

Q: There aren’t many players who can say they’ve been in the playoffs every year they’ve been in the league. Does your appreciation for being in this position grow with each year?

DM: Yeah, I think when I first got here, we went to the playoffs and growing up you watch New England, it’s like they always go to the playoffs. My rookie year, I was like ‘We’ll be back next year, we’ll get to do it.’ Now I realize how important it is because a lot of guys who were here my rookie year aren’t even here now. I think you realize how important each year is. You want to get whatever that team’s best is, you want to get it out in the postseason. I talk to my brother all the time, he’s yet to play in the playoffs. That makes me appreciate it even more. Each time we talk, all he wants to do is play in a playoff game. You realize it’s very important to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Q: What was your reaction to Deion Branch signing with the Colts?

DM: No reaction. This time of year, even throughout the NFL season, you see guys you used to play with on different teams. They have a couple guys that were here when I was here, just another familiar face on a different team.

Q: What will it be like to see Deion in a Colts uniform?

DM: Once we start playing and he’s out there, it will be like practice almost. We’re used to seeing him.

Q: You guys have hung your hat on takeaways and the last few playoff losses you haven’t had many takeaways. Is that something you’re aware of?

DM: Yeah, I think in all of our games, if you look at the games we’ve lost, we probably weren’t too effective in taking the ball away. It’s a goal of ours. We talk about them from OTAs, minicamp and continuing throughout the season, it’s very important for us to get turnovers. Our offense prides themselves on not trying to turn the ball over and if we get them the ball back that’s how we win games, that’s how we score points, have big plays. It’s key for us to make sure we go out there and try to force some turnovers. I think when you look at them throughout the season, they’ve done a good job of taking care of the ball. This game we have to try to force them.

Q: In your development, what do you see differently at safety now?

DM: I think the big thing when you play defense and especially in the secondary, things start to slow down for you. You’re actually able to see things develop as the play is going along. It’s not always. I felt like sometimes when I was younger it was always right after the play I would think about it like, ‘Dang, I knew that was coming.’ I think now as I’ve played more snaps and understand how to study film better and do different things I’m able to see things sometimes before they happen and anticipate. Now in my role at safety, I’m able to get that out to the rest of the defense and try to help all those guys.

Q: You’ve said that Steve Gregory is a real smart player. Can you think of an example of something that he’s picked up and shared with you on the field?

DM: I think with Steve a lot of it is, even in the film room, when we’re in meetings we’ll have something in the defense and we’re watching and Steve will say, ‘Why don’t we do this?’ We’ll all sit there and look at him and be like, ‘You’re right, that probably would be better.’ I think that’s what makes him so good. When we’re preparing for games, he’s not only able to watch film and see things coming but he’s able to go to the coaches and say, ‘Why don’t we tweak this defense this way because it better fits what they do?’ I think it’s good, our coaches listen to everyone. Steve always has something each week we play that he sees and things we can do. That’s why we call him a future head coach.