DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
October 25, 2018
Q: How about the Red Sox?
DM: That was nice. Up 2-0, you can’t beat that. I was thinking about hopefully maybe going to a game but I don’t know if I’ll get that opportunity. Hopefully they win it.
Q: Meaning they won’t come back to Boston?
DM: I mean, you can’t be against that even if you do want to go to the game. You’ve got to be for that. I’m okay with either one.
Q: Did you ever play baseball?
DM: No, I’m not a baseball player. I almost went to base-run in high school but hitting would have probably been a big struggle for me.
Q: Being a good safety, don’t you think you’d be a good centerfielder? It’s a little similar.
DM: Probably if I would have played but that’s one of those things where you say that and then you go out there and the ball’s going over your head, you’re misjudging it. So I’m going to stick to football.
Q: Stephon Gilmore has a relationship with Jackie Bradley Jr. Do you have any relationships with any Red Sox players?
DM: No, I’ve met a couple of them before but not like a personal relationship.
Q: How important is it this game to put the records aside and just play football?
DM: To me, it’s easy in this type of game. It’s probably because I’ve been here so I’ve played Buffalo two times a year every year I’ve been here and records have never mattered. In our division, all these teams play us tough, especially going to Buffalo Monday night. I’ve said it before – it’s one of those away games where we have no fans there. Like even the couple of fans that come, they won’t take over that stadium. Like the Buffalo fans will be there. They’ll be giving us the middle fingers as soon as we get in town. Like most teams, it’s when you pull in the stadium. There it’s as soon as you get within a couple miles of the stadium, like they’ll be ready to go. So I don’t think that’s a problem at all this game because we know their team. We play them often. We know they’re going to come out and fight and give us a good game.
Q: How do you go about handling the environment? I think last year Rob Gronkowski and Tre’Davious White got into it up there.
DM: Just playing football. I think at the end of the day, that’s what it has to come down to, us as a team. We’ve got to do what’s best for the team in all of those situations and emotions will obviously be flying high in this game but I think we’ve got to stay locked in on going up there to win another game on the road. A big game, Monday night and trying to just come back with a victory. I think that has to be the only thing we think about.
Q: Do you think the tough road games build the mental toughness of the team?
DM: Yeah, I think for us, it brings us together. I think as a team, you go on the road like last week going to Chicago, this week going to Buffalo, of knowing we go out there and we get better as a team and we build character. You go out there and you get a big road win, you know that’s us. It’s all those guys in the locker room coming together, fighting adversity that usually happens at some point during the game on the road. I think it continues to help you become a better football team. It’s things we’ve been focusing on. I think we’ve got to continue to try to build to that.
Q: Why do you think James White has become such a key part of the offense?
DM: I think for us, James is like that guy that does no wrong. Like I always talk to Josh McDaniels about that and he always says that James is his guy because you tell him something one time, he does it. You tell him, “Don’t fumble the ball,” [and] he’s high and tight all the time. It’s when you watch him, you see. I don’t know all of their techniques or what they’re supposed to do but you know when you’re guarding him, he runs a route the same way and then another route looks like it so you’re assuming like, “Dang, James is probably running these routes exactly how they want.” And then it’s the same thing running the ball. I think just the consistency and being reliable. I think for us as a defense, we know when we go out there on Sunday, if James is in there on any capacity, any role, we have complete confidence even if we don’t know what that is just because of the type of worker he is and how consistent he is.
Q: How tough is LeSean McCoy to play against and try to tackle?
DM: I’ve been trying to tackle the guy since like my sophomore year in college. I think one thing that always sticks out is you always talk about like ball security and the ball’s always flying around with him and I think people start to look at that and think like you’re going to strip the ball and see that and he’ll make you look silly. Very quick, tough to tackle in short space which is supposed to be easy. If you get a guy like that in a phone booth, he’ll still make you miss and we know that. He’ll run anywhere. The run could be designed to go outside to the left, he ends up all the way outside to the right. We talked about this week, it’s 11 guys. It’s not many times we’re going to tackle him one-on-one in open field. Like we’ve got to get as many guys as possible to the ball. It’s the same thing but different with [Chris] Ivory. Not as much trying to shake you, but he’s running violent. He’s trying to run through you. So the more guys we get to the ball on him too of trying to take him down with two and three guys instead of one-on-one with one guy, will help a lot in the run game.
Q: When a defense looks like it’s playing fast, is it just athleticism, straight-line speed or is a lot of it angles to the ball?
DM: I think it’s all of it. I think you can’t be slow and play fast all the time. I think anticipating and knowing what you’re doing as a defense, playing confident, knowing if I’ve got a guy setting the edge, I don’t have to worry about running to the sideline, I can run downhill because I know the ball’s not going to get outside. I think it does help having some athleticism but I think mainly knowing where each other’s at and having a confidence of every defense we’re in and what we’re doing, like everyone’s where they’re supposed to be. That allows the person next to you to play fast and then the next person to play fast. That builds through practice, so that’s something we have to continue to do through practice so it shows up on Sundays.
Q: I just ask because we saw you chase down Tremon Smith on that long kick return. If you ran a 40-yard dash right now, how do you think you’d do?
DM: Not that well. My draft stock would drop.
Q: Could you see James White as a coach given his intelligence?
DM: Yeah, he’s just too quiet right now. We’ve got to get him to talk a little bit more. And he’s probably too nice – he’s got to be a little meaner. But knowledge he has.
Q: What would you like to see the defense clean up these next few weeks?
DM: I think just being more consistent. We talked about that as defense, just playing well at times then one mistake by one guy or a mistake by another guy and we give up a long drive for a touchdown or three points. And it might look like, “Dang, this defense is really playing well the last three or four drives. This is good.” And then it’s one bad drive and then another bad drive and then it’s, “OK, five good drives.” Just being able to play a consistent 60-minute game. I think it’s probably the focus for every team, but I think that’s really showed up for us when we’ve been really good at times and then really bad at times. It’s not going to be a perfect game but I think when it’s not going as good, it can’t be as bad as it’s been.
Q: You’re somebody who gets guys fired up before games. Is this a week where you guys as a team need more of that since you’re 5-2 playing a 2-5 team?
DM: I don’t think so. I think guys have had good energy throughout practice this week and I think when we get off the bus, like that energy’s going to be there in that stadium. It’s obviously going to be negative energy towards us but you’re talking about Monday Night Football, in Buffalo, for a division game. I think one thing I’ve learned here is every time we go on the road to play a team in a big game, it changes for that team. So like it’s not like they’re coming in here 2-5 like, “Let’s get this game over with.” They’re like, “This is where we turn our season around. We beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football, we turn it around.” Being 2-5 and 5-2 in this league, it’s different but you go on a winning streak, you have a totally different season. I think for us, we understand that and I think people only look at records but playing here and playing in Buffalo before, like I know that’s not going to be a game where we come in and it’s like the stadium’s half-empty. It’s not going to be like that. When we get there, that stadium’s going to be packed, we’re going to be getting booed, we’re going to get the middle fingers. It’s going to be a high-energy atmosphere.
Q: The defense has struggled covering tight ends and you’re facing a good one this week in Charles Clay. What can you do to improve in that area?
DM: Covering him. Last week we gave up some big yards to [Trey] Burton, like finding him in zone coverages which sometimes is tough. We have to know where guys are. We know Clay is a big weapon for them. So whether we’re in man and we’ve got to cover him or whether we’re in zone, we have to know where he’s at. I think we know that. We know the type of player he is. We’ve played him basically his whole career between Miami and Buffalo. It’s just going and doing it. There’s times where we’ve done well and there’s other times where we give up too many yards so it’s definitely a focus of ours going into the week.
Q: When you lose him in zone coverage, is that just communication?
DM: Yeah, I mean it’s good players finding the hole in a zone and sitting down in it. It’s knowing where you’re at in your zone and saying, “Alright, this guy is their go-to guy. He’s not really right in my zone but I know it’s a high chance they’re going to throw him the ball if he sits five yards short.” It’s just having that awareness and knowing start of the play, 85 [Charles Clay]’s here. This is where he’s at so everyone is kind of alert if he comes into their zone.
Q: Has J.C. Jackson added a sort of energy to the defense?
DM: I think J.C.’s doing a good job of knowing his role and being out there. It’s hard as a rookie to come out there and “I’m going to add this and that to a defense.” I think J.C.’s doing a great job of coming with a lot of energy, knowing his assignments and playing fast. I think it’s up to us as the veterans when he gets out there to help reassure him of things, to help communicate with him more than we would do another veteran. Just to make him feel as comfortable as possible because we were all rookies before. Everything’s moving fast, things are not always the same you feel when you’re out there. I’ve learned when you have young guys out there, the more you can talk to them and help them feel like, “Hey I know this. I’ve been here before.” I thought J.C.’s done a really good job of that when he’s been out there with us.