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Transcript: Devin McCourty Press Conference 12/20

Patriots safety Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

Q: So what are these new Ironman shirts that you guys are wearing today?

DM: Same thing, Ben [Volin]. I wore this for you today. The new one though. Eight for eight.

Q: Is that for training camp?

DM: Yeah. It's always training camp. Yeah. 

Q: It's not for the season?

DM: [We're] a little delayed. Yeah. A little delayed.

Q: Why do you think you guys have been so good at forcing turnovers deep in your own territory and at your own goal line this year?

DM: I think it's just continuing to play, you know? It's obviously something we work on. Obviously not the turnover part but red area. Situation is something we spend a lot of time on so I think when we get in the red area everyone realizes the drive is not over. We spend time, we talk about the red area so we're trying to get stops. A lot of times if you can get a turnover that's a seven-point swing. You take the field goal off the board, touchdown off [the board]. It's a huge play. I think it's just been more about executing whatever our game plan is and a couple times we've come away with turnovers and they've been huge. They've been - obviously this one that was end of the game but overall that's huge. In a football game if we get a turnover - last time we played Buffalo, Eric [Lee] getting an interception down there like that's just big for us defensively.

Q: Was there a lesson learned from the Miami game with the quick turnaround and what can happen when you face a team a couple of weeks apart?

DM: Yeah, but I just don't think of it that way. Like I don't think we sat in there and went to Miami and was like 'we'll just go out there and see what happens.' We tried to prepare. So I think the true lesson is how to prepare each week and be ready to go. This is a huge game. Division game. Week 15 where everyone is playing for something. You've got to come ready to play. We know Buffalo is going to come in here, try to get a big win on the road. [These are] two teams that know each other very well because we just played a couple weeks ago and we play each other twice a year every year. It comes down to this at the end of the season. We're going to get their best shot and they're going to get our best shot. I think that's been the focus more this week than anything, not really reliving that and saying this is what we need to do. It's been trying to get ready and understand that we need to be ready to go from the beginning to the end of the game.

Q: Do you anticipate that it might be a little more chippy than normal based on how the previous game ended with Rob Gronkowski and Tre'Davious White?
DM: I don't. Like I said, Week 15, it's going to be like a playoff atmosphere. I don't think either team is going to need what happened last game to get them going. For all of us it's going to be much bigger than that than what happened at the end of the game. To me football is always football. Two teams trying to win a football game at the end of the season is going to be chippy. It's going to be everything from pushing and shoving to fighting for extra yards. You're going to get all of that Sunday.

Q: What makes Duron Harmon so talented when it comes to end of game situations? Is there something that he does that allows him to be in position each and every time?
DM: You'd probably have to ask him. I don't know. I think it's more him being a consistent player than the time in the game and all of that stuff. I just think it's him always being consistent. When the ball is his way, if he drops some of those we don't even talk about it but it's him making the play which he does all the time. He's working on that in practice. So I think that's more of it. He's a guy that he watches a ton of film. He watches those situations - red area - so when a play comes his way he's making it whether it's in the first quarter, the second quarter, the end of the game, he does that. The situation doesn't affect him. The pressure doesn't bother him. I think his preparation is always, since he was a young guy in here, if he was thrown in there at the end of the game he was ready to go and I thought he's always done a good job of taking advantage of opportunities.

Q: In the first game you guys didn't have to play against Kelvin Benjamin or Nick O'Leary. If Benjamin is out there, in particular, what kind of difference does he make for Buffalo offensively?

DM: Yeah, I think obviously we saw him this year and I think he had four catches, one hundred and something yards. [He] creates a huge problem. [He's a] bigger guy. Huge catch radius. If he gets inside you and in front of you it's kind of hard to stop the ball from getting to him. Between both of those guys who played, they both played last week so we're expecting to see them. I think O'Leary gives them their two tight end sets with two guys I think they really like whether running or blocking with [Charles] Clay and O'Leary. That's something to us we've got to prepare for and we didn't see it last time. Obviously we prepared for it. Those are two guys that I think change their offense a little bit from the last time we played them that we've got to be ready for, that we're preparing for. We see watching the Miami game, you can see a little bit of the difference with trying to use Benjamin, the big guy, [to] get inside, make catches. O'Leary had a big catch that started to get them going for their first touchdown. [They're] two guys that we need to know when they're on the field and how they change the game.

Q: What makes a guy like LeSean McCoy so dangerous in this offense?

DM: This feels like the Antonio Brown questions last week. He's really good. Great feet, great vision, extremely hard to tackle in the open field. A lot times it's hard to get two hands on him in the open field. I think in their offense they do a good job of if you just open a small crack he'll see it. Sometimes he'll go to the right if it's all shut down, put his foot in the ground, turn around, run back to the [left]. I think he's always been like that in this league and it really doesn't matter what kind of offense you put him in. It seems like he's that good of a player that he's going to find some free space and when he finds it you want to get three or four guys because it's just tough to tackle him in the open field one on one.

Q: So it's like total awareness. You've got to be totally aware of where he is at all times?

DM: Yeah, like we've talked about that today a lot of everyone pursuing to the ball, everyone's at the point of attack. There's not one guy on the defense that's not going to be responsible for bringing him down once he gets the ball in his hands. We can't just say the linebackers are going to get him or the d-line. It's everybody and then when he gets to us in the secondary, making sure if he breaks through that we contain it and funnel it all back inside to each other.

Q: There was a report today that Alex Guerrero has had some of his privileges rescinded from the team in recent weeks. I know a lot of the guys have seen him on their own. Have you ever gone to him for work?

DM: Yeah, I have but the rest of that is above my pay grade. I have no idea about any of that.

Q: Is it ever an issue when maybe the team training staff wants you to do one thing and Alex maybe has ideas about how to do things as well?

DM: Like I said, no idea. I see the training staff. I've seen Alex [Guerrero]. I've seen Ellen Spicuzza. I've seen Hope [Rappoli]. I could give you a rundown on the people I've seen but the rest of it I don't [know]. I don't know. 

Q: How do you look at the mindset of the team when it comes to what you're able to accomplish Sunday to put you back into the position you want to be into but now you have to execute these next two games?

DM: Yeah, I think this is a part of trying to be a good football team and mental toughness and always been able to understand that last week was a game that we wanted to prepare for. It was a big game for us. Now this week is the same thing, another big game that you've got to be prepared and be ready to play. In the NFL you can't say this game is the biggest game ever and you get all pumped up and you go win and then you're like 'alright we did it' and then you go out and you play bad for the next two or three. Like every week you've got to be ready to go because they're all big games. Like we talk about around here, after Thanksgiving everything is huge. You don't play in any games that you can just come out and say 'we'll just relax today.' It's a little different than college. You don't get to play a 1AA school. Like no offense but when you're a top team like Alabama or something in the country, those are games that they're not going to be as tough as when you're in the middle part of your schedule in college. In the NFL every team, especially coming in here, no team is coming in here saying 'we're scared.' Every team that comes in here they want to beat us. They want to beat us bad. It's a key part in the season that I think it's always the toughest part when you put together injuries, holidays - like everything is against you. You've already played a ton of games. You've got to have the mental focus and, to me as a team, come together and understand how important it is to be urgent right now because that will usually be the difference between winning and losing games this time of year.

Q: When you guys go from being defenders to blockers on a turnover play, how much do you go over that situation so that you don't get a penalty that nullifies a big return or take a free run at an offensive player and cost themselves and the team?

DM: I wouldn't say we go over it like every other day but we've talked about the legal way to block - not hitting guys in the head. We've talked about not going and taking a shot at the quarterback if the quarterback is not pursuing the play. So we've always talked about that. Then like I've said before, the NFL sends different videos about that stuff so it's something we've definitely talked about. It's not like a reoccurring thing but I think everyone on defense is aware what you have to do if we do get the ball and try to return it on how to be a legal blocker.

Q: Is that something that you will actively think about while you're on the field?

DM: Not really. I don't even think like wide receivers when they come and crack [block], like I think they're trying to knock your head off but I think we all know like you can't hit a guy in their head. I think it's like you coming down and trying to work your technique. Whether if I'm in coverage and I'm trying to play outside leverage, I'm thinking about playing my outside leverage. If you're trying to make a block you're thinking about getting your head across and not [inaudible]. So I think it just comes down to like the technique part, not you trying to avoid a fine or something. It's just trying to work your technique the right way.   

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