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Devin McCourty Press Conference Transcript 12/7

Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Q: Why do you traditionally play your best football of the year in December and why did the team did not do that last season?

DM: I forgot about last year. I don't even remember what happened last year. 

Q: You lost three of your last five.

DM: Dang, that sounds rough. Good thing we're in this year. 

Q: Why do you think you guys have traditionally played your best football this time of year?

DM: [It's just the] urgency of everyone starting with the coaches, from the older guys on the team, because it's what you come into. When you get here it's the first thing you hear about right after Thanksgiving and you continue to hear it week in and week out. I think addressing it and talking about it gives you a chance to go out there and try to play your best football, and like you said, last year, but it's something that you have to do every week. Just talking about it doesn't mean that it's automatically going to happen but I think it gives you a chance and then it's up to the guys to go out there each day in practice and try to get better at a time in the season when some people are just trying to get by and hurting and it's a long season and you have to really mentally try to do those things which is tough this time of year. 

Q: How do you get your teammates to focus on doing their jobs despite potential trash talk from Steve Smith?

DM: Yeah, I don't even think I need to say anything. I mean guys are competitive. You've just got to go out there and play. You know, each week you've got guys that talk and obviously he's elite at it, definitely. You've watched him do it for years. But I think it starts with going out there and playing well. If we do those things then we don't have to worry about anything that's being said out there and just have to focus on what we're doing. I think just from a total team standpoint and aspect, we understand how important that is to do what's best for the team out there on the field and we've talked about that numerous times as players, and coaches tell us. So I don't think that will be an issue for us.

Q: What do you think it is about Joe Flacco and this offense that gives you guys trouble?

DM: They're good. Joe Flacco is one of the top quarterbacks in the league. I think his ability to get the ball down the field and also his experience and understanding of what's going on out there and knowing how to attack a defense. I think they've always had a good running game. They have very good skill players. Offensively that's what you want. They want to be able to run the ball but they also know they can drop back and throw the ball. They have a bunch of weapons - Mike Wallace, Steve Smith, [Dennis] Pitta. Kamar Aiken was here, we know he's a tough football player. He's going to make plays for them catching the ball. It's a good amount of guys to stop and we're going to have to try to slow them down. 

Q: What has made Steve Smith so good for so long?

DM: I don't know him personally but I would probably guess his work ethic. To still play at a high level I think one thing is obviously he's very competitive. He goes out there and competes his butt off every game for 60 minutes. To keep getting older and keep getting better you have to probably have a tremendous work ethic and he obviously has that and he [has been] a tough matchup for years in this league.

Q: How dangerous is that speed of Mike Wallace?

DM: Very dangerous. We've seen him a bunch of times whether it was in Pittsburgh or in Miami. It's not just going deep down the field but it's him in Baltimore catching an over route or catching a slant and if you miss one tackle and turn it into a foot race you're probably going to lose that every time. He's a guy - he knows his speed and he knows when to turn it on. He's a guy that we have to be aware of and making sure we try to surround him and not let him turn on that speed and get going. 

Q: What do you remember in particular about the last time you played the Ravens?

DM: Not really. We won. That's it. I mean it was a tough game. We were down 14 twice but just kept playing. [We were] able to make some plays offensively and defensively that really decided that game, but a little bit different teams on both sides personnel-wise, so we'll see if that even has any bearing on this one.

Q: How do you teach these younger guys how to balance outside distractions versus inside responsibilities during this time of year?

DM:  I think you've got to - you can't just turn your back to your family and just say, 'It's football, it's a part of what makes you a human.' You just have to enjoy the process. I think the biggest thing is staying with your routine. Don't let the different holidays change and ruin your routine. If you don't get to celebrate one day, celebrate the next day. That's something that has been easy for me and my family. I think with myself and my brother both being in the NFL we've celebrated Christmas in January before. It just is what it is. I think you have to obviously realize how important football is, how important all these guys in the locker room mean to you and how much they're counting on you. You want to enjoy your family but you also want to make sure you're prepared and these guys in the locker room can trust you to do your job. I think everyone in the locker room cares about each other enough that they put the team first and they realize what they can't do and what they can. For the young guys it's all a learning process. You talk to the older guys, you learn as much as possible and you just go out there and try to do it.

Q: Is Joe Flacco somebody who will try to force passes into tight spaces and that you can't assume that you have somebody covered when you think you might have him covered?

DM: He's definitely going to give his guys a chance. I think he knows what he can do on the field. He has a very strong arm. I think all the good quarterbacks, there have probably been times where they've thrown an interception and are like, 'I thought I could get that in there,' and I think that's a part of what makes them good quarterbacks. You know, having that moxie about you that you want to try to make a play or that you believe in yourself, you believe in your guys that you're throwing the ball to. He has a good amount of weapons to get the ball to so he's definitely going to give his guys a chance to make some plays and they've shown that they've made them. We've got to definitely cover guys but also be ready down the field to go up there and challenge them and make our own plays. 

Q: Do you guys feel like you're clicking defensively with two turnovers two weeks in a row?

DM:  We'll see. I think we've done a good job the last couple weeks, even before those two games, of just attacking the ball and really just trying to hit that and talk about it every day and do it in practice. There are times where we're close, we don't get it in practice, there's times where we're ripping at the ball and it doesn't - but you get in the game and it's a mentality now you just keep doing it and those turnovers will come. So I think it's something that we've been focusing on, we've got to continue to focus on, keep doing it at practice and hopefully it shows up on Sundays, or in this case, Monday.

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