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Devin McCourty Press Conference Transcript 12/14

Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Q: Have you re-watched last year's AFC Championship game to get ready for this game against Denver?

DM: Not this week yet, I'm going to watch it though - that game and the game from earlier in the season. I mean, it's the same offensive coordinator. Obviously, different quarterbacks in both of those games, but it's always good, I think, even last game, watching the last time we played Baltimore just to get a feel for how the game, how the team really tries to play against you. Obviously, you can watch their games from this year, but teams sometimes play us different, or [there are differences in] how the game flows. You try to get a feel for that. 

Q: Is there anything that makes it more challenging to play in Denver?

DM: Oh, they're good. I would say that's the biggest thing. I mean, every time we go there, we're playing against a good football team. Defensively, like you said, there's no noise, but their crowd is into the game. There might be 15 Patriot fans in the whole stadium. I mean everyone is there for Denver. Then they have a good defense, and when you play at home that always helps, so just a tough team to play, especially when they're at home.   

Q: Do memories of the AFC Championship game leave a bad taste in your mouth?

DM: Yeah, but I leave every loss with a bad taste in my mouth, especially when the season ends. You really just remember it being over.  

Q: Despite having played against Gary Kubiak offenses a number of times in your career and therefore having an idea of what's coming, what still makes it a challenge to defend?

DM: I think that's the part that's challenging, when both teams kind of know what each other does, games like this kind of  come down to a couple of plays. That's why [Gary] Kubiak is a good head coach and offensive coordinator because he knows we know a tendency or something and [he'll] try to break it. [With] the talent of their players, [they'll] go out there and a guy makes a play, so you can't just hang your hat on knowing it and think, 'Alright we'll just show up, we know everything, everything will fall into place.' We have to be prepared. There are going to be some game plan things that they have prepared just for us. Especially at this time of year, there are so many games, so much film out there. Good coaching staffs go through every play and they're ready to go and they get the guys ready. We'll be prepared, but we have to be ready obviously for their guys making plays and then some game plan things. 

Q: What is the challenge given the skill set of the Denver receivers with a guy like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to complement him?

DM: I think that's the tough thing with them, too. They're not similar really. Even on the conference call with Denver [media] they asked which one is harder to cover. You can't pick. You've got a guy who's huge that is very fast and you've got another guy who's not as big but quick, fast. I think being able to match up with them for 60 minutes is the toughest thing. You see teams play them tough, get after the quarterback, make some plays, and then the fourth quarter comes and they hit [Demaryius] Thomas down for a 50-60-yard play and then Emmanuel Sanders breaks a tackle, he gets 40 yards, and the next thing you know, they score 10-17 points in the fourth quarter to win a game. Obviously, they're tough matchups, but I think the biggest thing is trying to cover them for 60 minutes and not being a little behind on a play because they'll make you pay for it. 

Q: What skill set does Trevor Siemian have that you can see being a problem for you guys?

DM: The tough thing, you see a guy, obviously playing after Peyton Manning, a guy that didn't have many snaps coming into the season, but the thing is he does a pretty good job moving around in the pocket and reading coverages. I think with us defensively, we've got to try to make it tough for him up front, especially in the secondary, doing different things. We've got to try to not just give it to him. I think sometimes you play young quarterbacks, you think they don't really know it or got it all together, but he's a guy that you can tell studies the film, understands what defenses are trying to do. We can't make it easy for them. We've just got to go out there and do different things and make it tough all game.

Q: When you watch film of the games against the Broncos last year, do you let those emotions come back as well?

DM: No, not really. You watch just to try to make sure you win this week. The emotions from the last couple games don't really matter; they won't help you out there on Sunday. I just try to take a thing or two that I think will show back up on Sunday that I think will help me out. 

Q: Do you think you took a step as a defense after your performance against Baltimore and played as well as you have all year?

DM: No, we just have to keep at it.  A couple weeks ago [people said] we were a terrible defense, do OK on Monday Night Football, now [they're saying] we're here, we've arrived. So I don't know, I think we know what we are. We're a hard-working unit. We grind each week to go out there and play well. I think for us we have to make sure we do what we've got to do. Today we got off to a good start trying to learn this team and get a step ahead, and then coming back and having a good practice Thursday and Friday. I think that gives us the confidence to go out there and play Sunday. That's our blueprint. We've got to stick to that week in and week out. That allows us to play good football. 

Q: How relevant are your two meetings with the Broncos last season now that they have a new identity under Trevor Siemian?

DM: I just think with the same offensive coordinator there will be some carry over on different things they try to do, especially if they're anticipating whatever we did in that game and whatever went well. I think that's the biggest thing. When you go back and watch games, you try to watch, especially from a defensive standpoint, you try to watch what went well for the offense. What did they do that worked? What was a play that might not have worked but when you look at it a second time, [you see] if they would have saw this guy open or that. You try to learn things from that and I think defensively, that's a big thing for me. No matter who is the quarterback, if he goes back and watches a game, he'll see a lot of the same guys out there for us defensively and say, 'Well if I get this again like they did last year, I can exploit that.' So it's just trying to get the upper hand on that and being a step ahead. 

Q: What is it about Emmanuel Sanders's game that has allowed him to be so effective?

DM: Quick and fast and he makes a lot of tough catches. I think sometimes smaller guys you think they're not guys that catch the ball in traffic or make tough catches, but you see he had a catch against Kansas City where Eric Berry killed him over the middle. He got up, celebrated, so he's a tough guy, very quick and fast. I remember playing him in Pittsburgh and it was three guys running around super-fast. He's continued that throughout his career. He's able to make catches down the field deep, take a three-step, five-yard catch and take it the distance too, so we've just got to be aware of him and [Demaryius] Thomas all game. 

Q: As you mentioned, a few weeks ago everyone said negative things about your defense but after playing well on Monday Night Football everyone is saying positive things. When did you first realize how the pendulum swings and realize you can't get swept up in that stuff?

DM: Me? Years ago now. It's fun. I think for us, we come in here and we grind and we work hard each day and it's all to go out there and try to play well one time a week. When it doesn't go well, you hear about it and you expect it. Everyone has a job in this. You just have to have an attitude about you that you've got to keep coming to work, keep doing what you've got to do to get better and really believe in your teammates and coaching staff. I think that's one of the things that I'm proud to say, playing for this team,  that every year I've been here it's been the same thing. Whether it's good or bad, we come in do the same thing. In my seventh year here, so far it's worked out pretty well, so I'll continue to do it. 

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