DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN MCCOURTY
Q: How can you go about bringing your energy to these road games? It seems like the energy level at the beginning of those road games that you've lost has been kind of low.
DM: I think playing better. When you start the game off where we do a terrible job on kickoff and the team takes the ball all the way back to your 40-yard line, like it's just tough to bring energy. But I think if you go out there and you go three-and-out in the situation, now I think you bring energy to the defense, you bring energy to the offense that'll take the field after - like if they had to punt the ball or they had to attempt a long field goal. But I think we've just got to do a better job of weathering the storm, whether it be at home or away. It's shown up away. It hasn't really shown up that much at home because we've gotten off to good starts. But I think we have to do a better job of just weathering the storm and giving ourselves a chance to bring energy and get going instead of just like letting it snowball.
Q: How much does the message change when you go into the bye after a loss instead of going to the bye after a win?
DM: I just think the morale changes. I think it's a better feeling coming in here obviously after a win going into the bye week. But I think no matter what, the work that we were going to have to do of coming in, self-scouting, seeing what we need to do - like that's always been the same. This is my ninth year. I don't remember when we've won or loss on a bye week but I remember all bye weeks kind of being the same - obviously depending on if it's Week 4 bye week compared to like this year, Week 11, that changes a little bit. But the type of work and what we need to get done has kind of been very similar.
Q: How do you go about correcting the problems on kickoff coverage?
DM: Just working it. I think a lot of it is kind of just leveraging and then tackling. So watching it, seeing it and then going out there and doing it on the practice field.
Q: What would you like to see the secondary improve on?
DM: I guess I would say anything we haven't done well. We come in here tomorrow, we'll go over those things and try to attack those things.
Q: What's your focus individually?
DM: Just trying to make more plays I think. Getting your hands on more balls. That goes back to, I would say, all of us in the secondary. When we're able to do that, you're just more effective as a secondary. I think tightening coverage and being able to make more plays, getting balls out and coverage. I think always tackling and leverage, all those things that show up. When it's good, it's good but anytime it's not within a game once or twice, I think fixing those things will help us out a lot and will help me out a lot on defense.
Q: How important is it at the same time for you to unplug this weekend? How cautious are you to draw back too much and then next Monday, getting thrown back into it?
DM: No, I think like we'll come in here tomorrow and it'll be everything that we've got in here and the practice and then if we're in Thursday, the same thing. Everything we've got into that day. I think when you get the weekend, the weekend's a time to kind of relax. If guys are going home, be with your family, kind of make up for some time that you might have lost doing different things. But you're talking about like Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By the time you look up, that's three days and you might feel like you have a lot of time to unwind, but those days go fast and then once we come back here Monday, it's kind of foot on the gas until whenever it's over for us. I think once you come back, the mindset is then we kind of decide that - when it's over. So you want to be able to get away a little bit because coming back and having everything kind of on you and what you do, you want to be rested and ready to go.
Q: How do you make sure that everybody has that right mindset of you guys decide when it's over and you have to go out there and play extremely well and make sure all the fundamentals and everything are done well?
DM: I think it comes back to what Bill [Belichick] used to say when I first got here, attitude and performance. I don't think it's as much as coming in and talking about it but it's coming in here the days that we're working and getting after it. High energy in practice, attentive in the meetings and then telling guys like, "Hey, when I get out of here, I'm going to go be with my wife and kids and relax." And then when we come back, it's not coming back kind of drowsy from the week but coming back here Monday ready to go full energy and hitting it full speed. I think guys see that more than anything you can tell them.
Q: Is there something to be said for a loss to come at a good time in the sense of a wake-up call or a reminder or does losing just suck generally?
DM: Losing sucks. I think there's always lessons to be learned but you have to - in this league, you speak about those lessons when it happens, but it doesn't matter unless you change what happens going forward. We can see the stuff we did wrong in the game and all of that and it's good; you have to do that. But it doesn't really matter if you don't fix it going forward. I think you always have to be careful of saying like, "We learned a lesson and now we know." We've just got to go do those things. It's not as important to kind of say it in your head and talk about it, but to come and put that work to use and try to show up for the following weeks.
Q: How much does a guy like you appreciate a guy like James Develin? He goes out there, does his job, doesn't get the ball much, kind of a blue collar guy.
DM: Yeah, I think that's exactly what Dev [James Develin] is. He's been like that since he got here and I think you can ask any guy in the locker room. They have a tremendous amount of respect for him not only because we watch - like you guys watch what he does on Sunday - but we watch him every day when we're in full pads, when we're not. He's coming in whether it's playing fullback, tight end, on every special teams, punt - like he does all of that and it's usually not saying much. It goes back to the attitude and performance. He always has that same attitude and the performance is there every day we're in here. He's a guy, I think, during the bye week, guys can look at and say, "If I can be more like Dev and do the things he's doing, that'll help me and help us as a team."
Q: I know we've talked about the companionship you have with your brother, Jason McCourty. Are you tired of him now? Is there a point where you're like, "You know I have to spend the bye week with you also?"
DM: Yeah, I mean, I guess I shouldn't say that because I'm sure we'll have the kids together throughout this bye week. But I'm sure by the end of that, it'll be good to see some of my friends' faces back here Monday because I'll be tired of seeing his.
Q: Bill Belichick mentioned this morning that he's starting to see some commonalities in the way teams are approaching you guys on different downs. Do you see some of that same stuff and is it things that date back a couple weeks, or a month, or six weeks?
DM: Yeah, I think we'll really get into that tomorrow. Today was more going over the Tennessee game and breaking it down. But that's what's always been good about the bye week. I think our coaches are better at that than us. Like for us, we're watching like how I'm doing individually when I watch film, like I might see things that teams are doing to me. But they always do a good job of overall concepts on what teams are doing and kind of relating it to a week to week thing. Every year I've been here, we always come in from the bye week and we're like, "This is what we've been getting. If we can stop this and then get more of that -" you know, different things. I think we all need to come in here ready to work tomorrow and kind of an open mind of criticism, of everything to try to get better and move forward.
Q: Is kickoff coverage one of the things that you think you'll put some time into self-scouting a little bit and try to figure out how to do better over the bye week?
DM: Yeah, I'm sure that'll definitely be up there. I don't know where we rank, but I doubt it's very good on kickoff. So I'm sure that will definitely be up there for one of the things that we need to improve, especially going forward in the season. There will probably be less touchbacks. The weather will change. We've seen that. Like kickoff's been a huge part of games that we've played in. Whether we're up or down, it's been a part of momentum swings with being able to pin teams back and then get a defensive stop and then - it's a big deal and it's something I think we'll definitely talk about.
Q: Is there anything you've noticed so far that's been challenging this season in that area?
DM: Just got to tackle the ball-carrier. I'm more of a simple thing, like if I sat up here and talked about "L3s" and "L4s" and "5s", you guys would be sitting here looking at me like, "Just tackle the guy with the ball." We've got to do a better job of that.
Q: You could try us.
DM: No, that'll waste your time and my time. I'm sure we all have better things as Thanksgiving and stuff approaches us.
Q: Have the rule changes on kickoffs changed anything for you or affected you at all?
DM: Not me, but I would say it probably affected the whole league because everyone - you had to change how you played. But kickoff's still kickoff. You're kicking to one area of the field, one guy has the ball, there's 10 blockers. We have 11 guys - 10 guys and the kicker but our kicker probably does a pretty good job compared to other kickers of running down there and being very active in the coverage team.
Q: I think he was behind you on -
DM: Yeah, like Steve [Gostowski]'s always pretty close to the ball down there. I would say obviously there's some difference of how you start and the alignments a little bit, but I would say it's very similar to what kickoff's been.
Q: Following a long kickoff return by the other team, does that change anything mentally for the defense knowing you have a shorter field to defend?
DM: No, I think mentally it's all the same. Like we have to understand when we go out there as a defense, our job is to get stops and get the ball back. We know as a defense there's times where we've done that where it's a kickoff or it's a turnover and we take the field and we go out there and get stops, and there's other times we go out there and the team runs five plays and they're in the end zone. Being more consistent in situations that are not ideal will help us out as a team.
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