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Devin McCourty Press Conference Transcript 11/30

Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Q: How are you doing?

DM: I'm doing alright. Another week.

Q: What are you doing today?

DM: Practice.

Q: Your thoughts on playing a team you may not be as familiar with? What kind of challenges does that present?

DM: Just more work as far as film-wise. I think sometimes you get to jump in the film and then see, like last week - what are they doing different? What's similar to last year and now? What are they doing period? A team we haven't played since I think the 2012 season and their team is a lot different than when we played them then. So just trying to get adjusted to the personnel, then what they're trying to do offensively. It's just more that goes into I think communicating-wise, talking as a group of how you see the game, how they play and trying to just be ready for that.

Q: What have you seen from Jared Goff since he has been a starter for them?

DM: I think one of the biggest things is he's talking care of the ball. You can tell he has a pretty good understanding of what they want to do offensively. You can tell by just some of the reads he makes and who he's trying to get the ball to depending on what the defense does. Obviously [he's the] top pick. He has the size, has the arm strength to get the ball where he wants. I think now for him it's just getting a feel and being out there and playing more. But I think he does a good job of trying to do exactly what their offense has him out there trying to do and he seems like he's out there trying to read coverages and get the ball where it should be.   

Q: Do you think that rookie quarterbacks are able to take care of the ball and handle responsibility more now than they were when you first came into the league?

DM: Yeah, I think guys are coming in - they're coming in ready. I think when you see some successful younger guys going out there playing, especially over the last couple years, guys that have been drafted early and got a chance to play a ton early. I think guys understand that when they get a chance to go into a team and whatever their quarterback situation, if you get out there on the field you have the opportunity for your career to take off right away. You look at [Jared] Goff who has now had a - he's been a guy that they've got to sit a couple weeks and learn throughout the season. He's still a rookie but he has a lot of learning under his belt just from watching other guys and sitting in those meetings and going through all of those things. I think he has a high awareness of where the ball needs to go and how to take care of the ball. There's no faster way to lose a game than turn the ball over and I think teams understand that and it's a big emphasis.

Q: When you see some of your defensive backs making plays in the last couple weeks, do you feel like there is a carry over with that week to week or do you have to re-establish every week?

DM: You've got to re-establish. I think it's key, especially in the secondary with the talent you play week in and week out of coming into the game confident, coming into the game knowing what you want to do on the field and how you can play. I think that's a big key. You watch it all the time from the cornerback position of guys that get rolling, they get momentum, they get confidence, they can play well week in and week out and vice versa. If you're not playing well, if you're not mentally strong enough to get out of that and realize 'I have a chance to start fresh this week', you can start to see that snowball too. So it has been good. Guys have really been able to lock in the last couple weeks of going out there trying to make plays, understanding what we're doing defensively. So the key is to come back and start fresh, clean slate today in practice and get that confidence and get everything brewing ready to go out there and play at a high level [on] Sunday.

Q: How much can that last play to preserve the victory last week help you guys come into this week with that confidence?

DM:  I think it's just a good play. You go out there and I think you get into the fourth quarter in a close game and you realize each play matters. So I think for Chris [Long] stepping up in just a one-on-one situation beating his guy making that play, it just goes to show how much we have to play at a high level once we get in the fourth quarter, once we get down the stretch of this season. That was just a prime example of that and I think it's something that we can definitely learn from of how we need to approach the fourth quarter in all these games down the stretch. You don't want to have that one play that turns the game around because you weren't as focused as you should be.

Q: How much conversation is there amongst the defensive players about sticking to the game plan and not trying to get too cute and trick a rookie quarterback into making a mistake?

DM: Yeah, you've just got to play. I think sometimes that gets a little overrated. I mean you look at a guy like Dak Prescott in Dallas. I'm sure everybody keeps going in saying he's a rookie quarterback but I mean it's all about winning football games. I think that's what you have to focus on. Whatever your game plan is that you think will work against a team, you have to just go execute that. You can't be out there thinking that just because a guy is a rookie [that] he's not a good football player. You know, you go out there and you do something that's not fundamentally sound, it'll hurt the defense faster than anything that anybody else does out there. 

Q: What are your thoughts on December football?

DM: It's just a time that you want to play your best football. From being here for a while, we talk about it. [It's] a time where you just want to put everything else aside and try to focus in on these last couple games. I think that's what December means - that it's almost over. We've got five games left in the regular season and you can't get those five games back. You can't make up them later in the season. It's here and now and that's it. I think that rings bells for all teams to know it's close to the end and each game really matters. You've got to really try to play your best so you're not sitting there in four or five weeks saying, 'I wish I had this week back, I wish I had that week back.' You just want to put it all out there.

Q: With a player like Jared Goff who has a small sample size, is there enough there to generalize or is there a really big challenge in the unknown?

DM: And that's the funny thing about when you play a rookie quarterback. Everyone thinks it's so easy to dominate but there is an element of you're not exactly sure how the quarterback will handle this or handle that. That has yet to be seen. I think you have to watch the film and see the talent level and see what he's capable of and be ready for that. You can't go in there and just think that the guy is going to play bad just because he is young. He obviously has a ton of talent and I think we have to be ready for him to come out here and try to play his best game of the season. It's only going to be his third start and I think like any player when you first start playing you usually get better week by week - the experience, going out there and seeing different defenses, doing things to help you as a player. We'll be prepared. I think we have a coaching staff that puts a ton of time in to have us prepared and [for] all the different looks that other teams have done and what we can try to think we'll get but you have to be ready for anything. 

Q: You have to try to keep track of another Rutgers player this weekend in Kenny Britt -

DM: Aren't those Rutgers guys so good, man?

Q: What is it about Kenny Britt? What makes him a challenge?

DM: He's a tough, physical player. He's a guy that - he's a big guy but he can get down the field. [He] does a good job of catching the ball in traffic with guys hanging over him. We've just got to know where he's at. He's a big target for them. He has made a ton of plays for them this year so I think as a secondary we understand they're going to try to get him the ball in a bunch of different situations. So just knowing where he's at and trying to make it tough. He's another bigger, competitive guy that's going to go out there and try to compete for every ball whether it's thrown up or down the field, whether it's an in cut or something and there is a guy hanging on him, he's going to try to make the catch. So we can't really lay off him no matter how covered we have him. We've just got to go up there and try to get the ball out. 

Q: Is there going to be any playful trash talk between you guys?

DM: We'll see, man. We'll see. 

Q: You have 12 teams that are going to invade your turf this Saturday playing for the high schools championship in Massachusetts. What do you say to those kids playing in those games?

DM: Have fun. That's a fun part of your life playing high school football. You really don't get those days back where you're out there playing with guys you played with for most of your life. You just want to have fun. You just want to beat a team just because they're five miles away from your high school and that's the only reason why you hate them. So you want to have fun in those games. I think it's the precious time of football where contracts and the business side really isn't involved. You're just playing for the love of the game and having fun with your friends. 

Q: Did you play everywhere in high school? What position did you play?

DM: I played everywhere. No quarterback though. I wasn't that good of a player. 

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