DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
March 25, 2020
Q: How excited are you about building a new culture of Patriots football and being here for the start of something different?
DM: I'm excited, I think we have a great group of guys in the locker room. I think it's been like that for years. Obviously, we had probably the greatest football player ever on our team so I think people really didn't look at the leadership and different guys we had in the locker room. I know everyone's kind of like, "What's going to happen? Everything is brand new," but I don't really see it like that. I see a continuance of what we've been doing and guys assuming the same leadership roles when you look at myself, [Matthew] Slater, Jules [Edelman], [Patrick] Chung, all those guys have been there 10-plus years, so we just have to continue to do what we've been doing.
Q: If it weren't for your brother Jason McCourty coming back, do you think you would be here?
DM: It was a possibility. I know people read what I said and were like "Oh, he wasn't going to come back if his brother wasn't." But I think, like I said, ideally we wanted to play together, but it wasn't we play together or nothing. I think it would have probably went a little different if his option didn't get picked up but it wouldn't have closed the door by any means of me coming back.
Q: In your short time with Jarrett Stidham, how can you judge his ability to read the field?
DM: I always lead off with if you ask me to evaluate and pick a quarterback, the team's probably going to lose a lot of games. I don't know exactly, I don't even know what Josh McDaniels tells him to read. Like I said about him before, I love how he's come in, he's eager to learn, great personality, great attitude, like a lot of the guys in the locker room. He's been one of the more mature guys that comes in and just does the work. I'm excited just going forward, I think our team as a whole – young guys who didn't get a lot of opportunities last year, guys who got hurt, we have a couple guys like that, that will now be able to go out there for next year and have the opportunity to help the team in different ways. I think Stiddy [Stidham] falls in that category along with some other players on the offensive line, different guys I think will get an opportunity now that we didn't get to see last year. It's just that time of year. You start a new season, there's changes, people are like, "This guy's gone, that guy's gone," and then guys step up and do that. I'm excited for all those guys.
Q: Playing against him in practice, has he shown you some things?
DM: I don't know. I don't want to turn this call into when I deem Stidham the next greatest quarterback and put all that pressure on him. He's a hard worker – but I know if I say something it's a headline tomorrow. Like I said, he's a hard worker, he comes in, he works hard. He did a great job this year of coming in and trying to compete as well as Cody Kessler, who gave us some good looks on different things. Both of those guys, great attitudes. Look forward to those guys getting the opportunities.
Q: Have you had any contact with Tom Brady since he made his decision? Did you have a goodbye conversation?
DM: Yeah, I got the opportunity to talk to him. I hated, in the Players Tribune article I was like, "I found out on Twitter," and people were tweeting me like, "Man, he didn't call you?" And I was like dang, I guess I should have wrote I found out most of teammates left on Twitter. That wasn't big deal to me. In 2020 it's rare a guy can call all his teammates and tell them he's going somewhere else because just how fast news breaks. But I did get the opportunity to talk to Tom.
Q: What was that conversation like?
DM: No, I'm not going to talk about that.
Q: The other day you acknowledged that you've seen or heard other people are already starting to write the team off because Tom Brady is not the quarterback anymore. How much of that stuff do you pay attention to? Do the goals change at all with the turnover you've experienced?
DM: I think my goal is always to win as many games as possible. I don't think you ever come into the season and talk, "Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl". It's about improving and winning games along the way as you improve. I think that will stay the same. Especially now, you have a lot of time to be on Twitter and stuff, so a lot of what I've seen is just people tweeting me like, "Enjoy what you guys had, it's over, you guys won't win a game." I think that's natural though. I think if I was a fan and I watched the team and watched a guy for a long time and he left and he was so great, I would say that team is going to be terrible too. That's expected, but I think it's our job as players to go out there and compete when we get the opportunity. I think, for us as a team, in my 10 years there, that's always going to be the thinking. I'm passionate about that, Slater, the coaching staff, so I don't think that's going to change. I think that's how we're going to be and I expect that's how we'll lead the team and get guys – new guys, young guys – to follow the same way
Q: As a captain, when you lose guys like Stephen Gostkowski, Kyle Van Noy and Tom Brady, what kind of leader helps keeps the train moving and helps keep the locker room as it's been over your duration?
DM: I think you just do what you naturally do, I think what happens on teams naturally is guys step up and become new leaders. I think about the team when Vince [Wilfork] left and then [Jerod] Mayo left and Logan Mankins left, and I remember being one of those guys looking around like, "Man, that's a lot of our leadership gone," and next thing you know I'm one of the leaders on the team. I think that will happen naturally on more guys, I don't think me as a player, I can't go up to a guy and tell him, "Hey, you're a leader now." I think guys naturally step into new roles. I think a guy like James White has been a leader on our team for years, he's a guy that we always talk about follow what he does, he leads by example, his work ethic every day, he's always in there working his butt off and doing the right thing. I think leadership will naturally happen for guys that try to jump in. You can talk about and tell someone to do it, I think guys just lead in their own way and I think we have a lot of guys that will fall into that window but we'll have to see how that plays out.
Q: How much has your workout changed having to stay at home? What has the process been like for you when social distancing and trying to stay in shape?
DM: It's been something that has been, I would say, a work in progress. Fortunately enough, I ordered a Peloton in the beginning of February. I had thought about it for a while and I ordered it, and that's been key for me just to being able to, no matter the weather, jump on that. Other than that, it's been FaceTiming my trainer and trying to do workouts that way, him letting me know some things I could get in the house and figure it out. I think the good thing is everyone has that same mentality, players trying to figure out how they can get workouts in, trainers walking around their house and figuring out things that guys can do and then passing it along. Everyone's kind of going through the same thing and trying to figure that out, but it's definitely challenging.
Q: Have you thought about how training camp or the season opener might be delayed?
DM: Just how everything's going, it feels like everything is on the table. Training camp could start on time or it could be delayed, it seems like everything – it just seems like that's like, I don't want to say the last thing you worry about, but I feel like it's kind of down on the things of importance, just because everything that's going on right now, because of the health of people and just seeing different stories come out every day. It just feels like this season's kind of on the back burner with just trying to make sure everybody stays safe.
Q: Professional athletes and football players in particular are often celebrated for your toughness, do you think you can help set an example for society right now for by saying, "Hey, we're staying home too?"
DM: Yeah, I think what you just said about us, you look at everyone in the medical field who are out on the front lines, still going to work, dealing with the virus first-hand, those are the true tough guys. I think, as much as possible, anybody that has a following, social media, any type of status, just being honest with people. Staying at home, doing different things, I'm like everybody else. I've got a three-year-old and a soon-to-be two-year-old driving me crazy, running around, yelling and screaming, but we all have to stay home. I think that's something I admire guys going and talking about, something that me and Jay [Jason McCourty] tried to talk about on our little podcast, is just being home. I think guys and females and everyone in sports and entertainment, even you guys who have a big influence of people watching your shows, especially now, having something to watch and something to talk about, of just talking about that, how important it is. Hopefully, as a country and as a world, we can start to listen and do those things and get through this time.
Q: With the turnover at quarterback, does the defense feel that you have to perform at the level you did much of last year to carry this team next year?
DM: No, I think for me, as a defense we should want to be great no matter what. For years, we always have talked about us being the reason we lost games and we knew how great Tom was. I still say the same thing because the defense, your goal has to always be the same when you take the field. If we get turnovers, we dominate and get the offense back on the field. For us as a defense, that's something that we need to do. Last year, we didn't go into the season and say, "We need to carry the team," or, "We need to do this and that." We said, "We need to be as good as we can." The offense said the same thing, special teams said it, and then you see where you fall. I think we have to continue to do those same things as a defense, as an offense and overall, special teams, if you want to be a good football team.
Q: What do you know about new additions Adrian Phillips and Cody Davis? What do you think they can bring to the safety group?
DM: I just know a little bit about both of them. Obviously experienced guys, Cody Davis is a guy who plays different roles, played on special teams. And then obviously Adrian Phillips we watched when the Chargers made that run in the playoffs. Having all those DBs on the field and him [Phillips] being able to look to play linebacker, play safety, play a bunch of different roles. Overall, that's us in a nutshell, that's our defense, that's our team, having guys who are team-first guys who can play multiple roles to help the team in a bunch of different ways. I think ultimately, all of us being able to help on special teams and have a role there really defines our team. I'm excited for some time when we all get a chance to work together and build our camaraderie. That's always the biggest thing, especially in the secondary, is building not just communication and everything but friendships and bonds of off-the-field stuff and things like that. I can't wait to, as a group, get back together and start that process and again, try to be a really good secondary going into the season.