DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
AUGUST 12, 2019
Q: How useful was last week, and getting set to do it again?
DM: Yeah man, it’s fine. Anytime we get away, kind of still in that training camp schedule so we all spend a lot of time together, even after meetings being with each other. I think the biggest thing when you go on the road like that for a week, it obviously brings a lot from the football side of being on the field, going against another team's schemes and all that. But, even as a team we build relationships, guys hang out. I think it just grows our bond together as a team.
Q: How has turnover on the coaching staff affected you?
DM: We just go. I think every year I've been here, there's usually something that happens, whether it's coaching staff, people change, whether it's scheme and different things. So that's the thing about what the off-season is. It's a time to kind of adjust and re-align yourself with whatever we're doing for the upcoming season and just get to work. Now we've been at it since April. It's a professional sport. From all of our standpoints as players, we've got to prepare and get ready to go, so no one's thinking about any of the coaching changes now. We’re a couple months in, we're just full steam ahead and each day we're just trying to get better. That's from top down, coaches all the way to the last player on our roster.
Q: What's it like having Jerod Mayo on staff?
DM: It's fun, man. I get on him a lot as a rookie coach. I think it's cool for me, just a guy that I came in and learned so much from as a rookie and him as an older veteran. Now, learning from him in a coaching role, he was very, very much like a coach even when he was here as a player, so easy transition for him.
Q: How much do you and other veterans stress learning to young players as leaders in the defensive backfield?
DM: It's very natural for all of those guys that have been in the league. Whether it's myself, Pat [Chung], Jay [Jason McCourty], Steph [Gilmore], Duron [Harmon], when things come off, we're always talking, because we know in this league, when you're going against a team and something hurts you, it's going to come back up. So, a lot of what we're doing on the sidelines is like, "Hey look, they didn't even see this. This guy is open, I saw it. They're going to come back to this play. When they come back, be ready." And I think that happens across the board all season. There's been times I've been out there and a guy that hasn't played is watching the game and he's like, "Dev look, they did this, I think they might" – so I think that's a part of being a team. We've always got to be helping each other out from either corner to safety or safety to corner, or the guys that are on the sidelines helping the guys on the field. I think that's just a cycle of playing football, especially in the secondary. I think we've grown as a secondary and are becoming a solid unit.
Q: What are your impressions of the receiver room?
DM: They've been very competitive. I think it's been fun. Whenever you get new guys, younger guys to come in since April and start against us starting with May practices, we had a lot of new guys that knew our defense, were well into some of the things we do from a defensive standpoint, some of the adjustments. Now, you’re starting to see some of those guys like, "Yeah alright, I've seen this before. I've been out here. I know what Tom [Brady] wants, I know what [Brian] Hoyer wants, this is how I have to adjust." So, it's fun. You see a lot of these drills are back and forth, and I think that's a good sign that everybody's out here competing in camp and it's just been fun seeing these guys bet better. Even guys like Maurice Harris. That's a guy that's played in this league. When you come somewhere new, he's adjusting, he's competing, he's making plays. Bill [Belichick] always says it's like a heavyweight fight. You want to just keep throwing haymakers back and forth, and that's how you get better as a team.
Q: Have you seen a jump this year from a guy like Braxton Berrios or even a rookie in Jakobi Meyers and think, “My god, this kid’s pretty good.”
DM: Yeah, I think that’s fun. Even a guy like Braxton – didn’t play last year but was in our system, was working out. It doesn't take long for people to start viewing you as, "Hey man, you're kind of a veteran. We need you to pull some of the young guys along." And I think he's done a great job of that. For one, just coming out here with that work ethic each day. For him, that started last year. All of the guys that were here, we saw them in there working out, getting better and I think he's just doing a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities. Same thing with Jakobi – he comes in here, undrafted rookie. You’ve just got to come out here and try to perform each day and take advantage of whether it's with the ones, twos, threes – just take advantage of every opportunity you get. I thought he's done a good job of that.
Q: The entire University of Rhode Island football team was out here today supporting you guys. Do you have any words of wisdom for them or what does that kind of support mean to you?
DM: That's awesome. I didn’t know what team. I saw all of the black jerseys in the stands. I think that’s key. For a lot of us as players, obviously we all have been through that. Having a local team right here that can come see practice, I think it’s good. I think they get to see how we work, what we have to put into each day, and I think for one, it tells you to enjoy the moment you're in. High school football is a great time, so enjoy that. I would just say good luck to those guys. Go out there, win as many games as possible and try to win a championship. That's what it's all about.
Q: How would you describe the looks you're getting from the tight end position?
DM: We go back and forth. I always tell people the hardest thing is competing against the guys you see every day because any of my strengths that I like to go to, they see that every day. We go in there, we watch film, you try to adjust to that, you try to do something different. It's been good. I think the good thing about our group is you've got a bunch of different guys. You look at a guy like [Stephen] Anderson – he's a more athletic [tight end], runs really good routes, has good speed. Same thing with Ben Watson – even though he's older, he still has really good speed and you have guys like [Matt] LaCosse and [Ryan] Izzo are bigger guys, very physical, top of the route trying to get open. So, I think we just try to get as many reps against all of the different guys, and then going down to Detroit and seeing them, seeing their differences. Jesse James is a big guy. I know for us as a safety group we try to take on the challenge of going against a bunch of different guys. But it's been fun to see our tight end group work against us and then go out there in the game and make plays too.
Q: Do you feel like your safety group is being challenged now in the absence of a Rob Gronkowski who you had been facing for the past decade?
DM: Yeah, I mean, listen – anybody that's in the NFL is a good player. For years now, nine years, we've had the opportunity to come out here and go against Gronkowski – arguably the best tight end. In between we've had other really good players. Marty Bennett, who we don't like to talk about often – I'm joking – but it's always fun. I think if you don't go against big names in practice everyone assumes, "Oh man, those guys aren't getting any work." But at a point in time, none of us were household names or whatever, but everybody comes out here and works and we've all been getting better. I think it shows when you go out there in the games. We got to see LaCosse make some plays down the seam, Ben with a catch-and-run. That comes from us working each other and making each other better in practice.
Q: How has Michael Bennett been as a teammate so far?
DM: It's been awesome, in a way. I told Mike I didn't think two people who could be so similar and I don't know what I did to have to deal with two Bennetts like this. He's very similar to his brother, speaks his mind, always fun to be around him. He's been I think a really good teammate. Obviously, a veteran guy, a guy that all of the younger guys can learn from. Obviously, he brings a lot of experience and you've watched him out there – he's a really good player. It's just fun to have him. It's kind of like a family now that I know Marty and his family so well and now including Mike. We've had fun so far.