PATRIOTS DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
Q: Bill Belichick said it's hard to mimic a lot of the things Kansas City does on offense. How do you practice defending against that since it's hard to mimic?
DM: Yeah, I mean, you do it. Like we've been out there repping it. Even we've done some drills where Danny's [Etling] - even just like just individual, the safeties just being deep and launching the ball as far as he can throw it and working on things like that. But like, it's something you've run into that every week. There's certain guys out there that you're going play against that we just don't have, like we don't have Tyreek Hill on the other side to emulate it, but you get guys to go out there, we try to rep it. But, I think it's always a mix of practice and then film of watching it and trying to see it. But, that's the NFL. You don't really see things the way you'll see them Sunday a lot of times, but this week is just I think a little different because they have a lot of guys that are top guys in their position and create different challenges that you just don't see on a weekly basis.
Q: How important is it for you guys to not go for their misdirection plays and stay with your keys instead of worrying about what they're trying to show in misdirection?
DM: Yeah, I think it's important just knowing what defense we're in. If we're in man-to-man, keep your eyes on your man, know what you have and usually, your man will take you to whatever the play is. If he's going to catch the ball, you'll be on him. If he doesn't catch the ball, they throw it elsewhere, once the ball leaves the quarterback's hands, then putting our foot in the ground and running to the ball. And I think then when it's in zone, it's just doing your job in that zone coverage. I think that's always key. This is like one of those games where it's very important that all 11 guys do the job they're assigned for that defensive play. This isn't the game where you can make up for somebody else and run over there and do his job and your job. If you do that, like you just said, with all the fast motions, their misdirection where you start one way and a reverse with Tyreek [Hill], one wrong step and these guys are gone. So, it's going to be very important for us to just do our job and not try to over-compensate.
Q: How impressive has Patrick Mahomes been so far?
DM: Very impressive. I think he's very poised. He never really rushes to try to make a play or do the wrong thing. Even though he does some things that are very unorthodox that most people just can't do, he can do it. And I think you see that, whether it's being rushed out of the pocket and he rolls and he's able to throw very well on the move and outside the pocket, so he never really rushes or gets worried about that. It seems like he's just like, "Alright, I'm outside the pocket. Now I just have to find someone." And then you see him at times roll right, throw back to the middle, throw to the left and it's like, "Oh, you don't want to do that." But, the ball's moving so fast that you don't really get a chance from the backside to make the play. I think he's just doing a great job of being in control of their offense and what they want to do and then making some of the plays that only he can make.
Q: Is Tyreek Hill as fast a guy as there is in the NFL?
DM: Yeah, I don't think you can find a guy faster than that. I mean when you watch him on film, it just jumps off the screen of how fast he's moving. Whether it's in the punt returns, on offense catching a slant going the distance or running a nine route, the guy's fast. And that's something that we can't - you can't get that in practice.
Q: Is there a better match in the NFL of the arm strength of Patrick Mahomes and his receiving core that can just fly downfield?
DM: No, I mean, it matches. It's a little bit like I remember playing against Pittsburgh when it was Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Like that was just speed everywhere with a quarterback that can launch the ball and get it to them, and it's the same thing. You have a receiving core where I think 4.39 [40-yard dash time] is like the slowest speed out there in the receiving core. So, I think you just have so much speed and now they have a guy like [Patrick] Mahomes that he's going to throw it out there. They ran against Atlanta in the preseason, I think that was. You know the ball's traveling 70 yards in the air, kind of Hail Mary-type play and he throws it, you know what I'm saying, from the 25 to the five and gets it there in stride for a touchdown. It's never too deep, that's just not the case, so it's something we've just got to be aware of in the secondary.
Q: How proud are you of your brother Jason McCourty becoming a reliable second corner here?
DM: Honestly, it's not even like a - I know it's supposed to be like a Hallmark card-like proud moment, but I just look at it as he's another guy on our team that stepped up. We rely on a lot of guys in that locker room. But it's not like something - I think for you guys, it's like, "Oh man, Jason McCourty's playing well, we never knew." For us, it was like, "J-Mac's in there, he's ready to go when his name's called." And he's just gone out there and played.
Q: Dont'a Hightower joked yesterday that he loves Jason McCourty more than you.
DM: Yeah, we addressed that. You probably won't hear Dont'a say that again.
Q: How much has your brother Jason leaned on you since he got here?
DM: I mean, just I think as far as like scheme, learning the defense. But other than that, I think it's been simple for him as far as learning the defense. To me, he's been more of a leader than leaning on me just in the corner room. He's a very vocal guy, very similar to me in that way of helping Keion [Crossen], J.C. [Jackson], talking to those guys. He's been a guy that we can rely on to play multiple positions in our scheme, so I wouldn't even say it's as much leaning on me. We've counted on him a lot when he's been out there to not just play corner but to also be a communicator, be a guy that can help get everything set.
Q: How important is Jonathan Jones to the defense?
DM: Another guy - it's similar in that we don't just count on him to do his job but to communicate, to help guys in certain situations, to help me at safety. It's been great I just think to have him mature into being a special teams guy to a guy that's playing a lot of snaps on defense. And, we just know he's going to be there and do it right each play. I think that's always key when you're playing secondary to have guys like that that you can count on.
Q: What's stood out to you about Patrick Mahomes intangibly?
DM: I think like you see him moving, how athletic he is and it's like, "Oh, he's a scrambler." But, you watch him, he's not leaving the pocket unless he has to. And I think obviously everyone saw the play against Denver where he gets rushed out by Von Miller going to his left and he's like, "Alright, man, I've got to throw the ball with my left hand to get a first down," and he does it. So, I think that's something we've got to be prepared for. It's not like we're playing a young quarterback and we just need to make it tough for him early and we'll have him. Like he's not going to be rattled if he has a bad throw or throws an interception like he threw against Jacksonville. It's not going to stop him from coming back, making plays. So, I think we've just got to be ready. It's a young quarterback, but the guy plays like a veteran.
Q: Drawing from your own experience, what's it like being a young player with not much experience going into a big primetime matchup like this?
DM: I think more of the hype is like the outside world. I think for us, we just play football. Like guys get in here, you get around your guys, you're going over what do you need to know, the scouting reports. It's kind of just a week-to-week thing. Especially at this point now, it just rolls. You're like, "Alright, who we got next? Wednesday, first and second down, Thursday we got third down, red area." And I think all those days just roll and you're not even kind of thinking about any of that and you just go play, and I'm sure he's kind of in that mode already. And I think you can see that confidence out on the field.
Q: Is this game exciting as a defense because it can serve as a measuring stick against an offense like Kansas City's?
DM: No, I wouldn't say that. I think for us, it's about going out there and competing, trying to get a win. Obviously, we're going against one of the better teams in the whole NFL and I think that's a great opportunity to just go play well and try to get a win. I'm not big into the measuring stick and all that. Like if we win this game, we won't - it doesn't advance us to the Super Bowl. I think it is a good test to go against a really good team, really good offense, but I think at the end of the day, we're playing the Kansas City Chiefs and we've got to try to get a win.
Q: Does Kareem Hunt get lost when you're talking about the Chiefs' offense with the speed of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and then Patrick Mahomes?
DM: Not for us because we were one of the first people to see that last year. He fumbled the first play and then went on to have a great game against us last year, so we're fully aware of what he brings. I think just their whole rushing attack no one talks about because Mahomes leads the league in passing TDs, they have so many good receivers and then tight ends. But, we're fully aware of Hunt, whether it's running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield of how he can hurt you and how hard he runs, not looking to go out of bounds, very aggressive runner.
Q: How much has this Kansas City team developed since you played them last year with the change in quarterback aside?
DM: A good amount. I think even adding Sammy Watkins is really good. Obviously, he was in Buffalo, so we played him twice a year. We know how talented he is. I just think you just see that year-in and year-out when you have the same kind of guys sticking together and the core of your group. And then you add a guy or two, you just see how much you can continue to get better and play well. I think once you see them, you know the way they started the season - it's clicking, it's going well. I think they just kind of rolled that momentum but not settled and got complacent. They just continue to get better each week. So, I'm sure they'll come in here firing on all cylinders and we'll have to play our best game to have a chance to win.
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