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Transcript: Devin McCourty Press Conference 12/27

Patriots Safety Devin McCourty addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

Q: What are your thoughts on the final game of the regular season and what's at stake?

DM: Yeah, always a tough game playing against the Jets, no matter when it is. I think, especially looking back at that last game, it's a play or two going in a different direction. Obviously, the big play towards the end of the game with [Austin] Seferian-Jenkins on the goal line, so I think we've just got to realize division game, it's going to be tough Sunday, that we've got to really prepare and be ready to go because I'm sure they're watching the film like, 'If we get a couple of these plays turned around, we would have won this game at home.' So, I think guys understand that. We understand that there's some different guys in there for them, obviously starting at the quarterback position, and that's always the key point. When you get to know your opponent, get to know how they're playing, what's different, and I think guys are on that today, and we've just got to keep building that through the week.
Q: Is it easy for a veteran player like James Harrison to get used to the scheme and system here?

DM: Yeah, I mean, we're all trying to learn. I think the big thing is, whenever you come in, once we start the season, the good thing is he's trying to do the same thing we're trying to do right now. We're trying to learn how we're going to play against the Jets, the exact game plan we're playing, and that's why sometimes for us it helps for guys to come in in season because you're not trying to learn a ton of things. We're all trying to learn how we're trying to beat the Jets this week. I'm sure he could probably answer how tough that is. I've never had to experience that. But, I think we had a good day today of focusing in on this is how we want to play, whatever the technique or whatever the defense is for this week, and that goes a long way in our defense because it can change week-to-week depending on who we're playing.
Q: How bizarre was it to see James Harrison in Patriots gear today?

DM: No, I mean, guys can play anywhere in this league. That's just the way it works. You never know who will show up or who will be gone. That's the tough part about playing in the NFL.

Q: With all of the defensive personnel changes this season, when you've looked around the huddle over the last few weeks, have you ever wondered who some of the players are?

DM: No, I think that's the good thing about our team is guys kind of build our relationships, whether it's on the plane when we're traveling, whether it's in the locker room. Like you see, we don't have no game room in there. We're in the locker room. We're talking to each other. That's the fun part. So, when we're out there playing on Sunday, we know each other, we know who we're communicating to, we're out there playing together. I think it's harder for you guys to see these guys come in one week, two weeks, but we spend so much time here, being here for one week is like being with somebody for a month. So, I think that's the fun part of getting to know your teammates and then going out there and cutting it loose with them. 

Q: Do you think it is more difficult being a 40-year-old quarterback or a 39-year-old defensive lineman?

DM: No idea. I'm happy I'm just a 30-year-old defensive back. I'll stick to just knowing that. I don't think I'll experience a 39 or 40 of anything other than retirement. 

Q: Is there any conversation about clinching the No. 1 seed if you win this game or is it assumed that everyone knows that going into this game?

DM: Yeah, whatever comes with it, comes with it. I think, for us, the biggest thing is playing well. It's that time of the year where you don't want to go out there and just not be prepared, not go and play a good game. I think we talked about it all year of how we need to get better, we need to improve. Each week is about improving. Week 16, your 16th game, you don't want to be talking about, 'We came out there and we played bad and we need to improve.' Like yeah, we'll still need to improve some things, but it's got to be small things. We have 15 games under our belt. We want to continue to build on the 16th game and come out here and play and finish off our division. 

Q: Did you know James Harrison at all before he joined the team?

DM: No.

Q: Did you spend any time with Harrison today?

DM: I mean, not like one-on-one. Like he was in there, so I would say I spent time with everyone today.

Q: Is he one of the biggest humans you've ever seen?

DM: Yeah, I mean he's a well-put together human being. Scary looking, some would probably say.

Q: Would you be more apt to make an age joke towards Tom Brady than you would James Harrison?

DM: I'm not really into making fun of the old guys to their face, I would say. Yeah, I don't think many of them watch this stuff, so I feel a little more safe that way. Tom's well connected, so you've got to always be careful what you say to him, too.

Q: With temperatures expected to be very low on Sunday, does that present another element to deal with that you need to prepare for?

DM: Honestly, I think the good thing that helps us - hopefully, Bill [Belichick] doesn't see this - is practicing in it. The games are not as cold as practice. We've got a heated bench. We've got heaters on the sideline. But when we go outside on a day like today, you see us in walkthrough and we're kind of walking and standing. By the time we practice we've already been outside in the freezing cold for 35 minutes kind of not even moving, so to a lot of us practice is just way colder, getting through a cold practice, than just a game. You guys know, we're outside. We were outside when we went to Miami, so I think us being in that environment kind of prepares you mentally and physically for when it comes Sunday. Then you throw on top of it that it's a game and not practice, so your adrenaline is running even more. Honestly, dealing with the cold is easier on game day than it is day-to-day in practice.

Q: How much do you appreciate the effort that a guy like Malcolm Mitchell has put in to try and get back and help this team go where it wants to go?

DM: Definitely. We've seen all year, really, him in here working out, just trying to do everything that he can do to get back out there on the field. I think as a team that's what we all want from each other. That's all kind of what we expect - playing for the guy next to you - and when a guy is not out there - I'm pretty close with Malcolm - just seeing him push forward each day, running routes, working with the training staff. It's good to see him to be able to be back out there running around with his teammates. He's said for weeks that he hopes he gets his shot to come back out there and practice. He's got the fresh legs. He was out there moving today. I'm happy for him.

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