Devin McCourty doesn’t want to hear any of your talk about 19-0.
McCourty said that when it came to the idea of the 2017 Patriots finishing the year undefeated — talk that first surfaced when teammate Julian Edelman scoffed at the thought earlier this summer — he and Edelman are of like mind.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of things I agree with Jules on, but this is one of them,” McCourty told BostonSportsJournal.com on Saturday, when asked about the talk of a potentially undefeated season. “That’s ridiculous.”
The Patriots finished the 2016 season 17-2, including the playoffs, on the way to a fifth Super Bowl title. The thinking is that they improved themselves in the offseason with the additions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and tight end Dwayne Allen. But Edelman dismissed the idea of even talking about a perfect season, telling the Herald that it’s “stupid” to think about it. McCourty feels the same way.
“That’s ridiculous. It’s never been done,” McCourty added. “To come into a season and talk about that is ridiculous. Now, the focus for us is just on being ready to go every week. Just try and compete and win every week. 19-0? That’s ridiculous.”
McCourty acknowledges the added hype around the team, but part of it is just the usual fanfare that goes with being a defending Super Bowl champion. Part of it is just playing for the Patriots. Regardless, he doesn’t see the mindset changing.
“I think it’s the same mindset every year. This year is a little different because there’s a ton of hype around the team,” he said. “But for the most part, I think it’s the same mindset as we’ve always had — come in one day one and try and build to become the best team we can be.
“It starts this week in camp the conditioning test, and the guys coming back and being ready to go and having a great year. Year in and year out, the plan doesn’t change that much,” he added. “I don’t know if it’s because now, I’m going into my eighth year in the league and I understand how each team is different. But we’re going into each day of camp this summer with the same approach. I’m just excited for the new season.”
The biggest challenge for McCourty and the rest of the defensive backs? The New England secondary is going to have to learn how to work alongside newcomer Gilmore, who signed a massive free agent deal with the Patriots in the offseason. McCourty compared the addition of Gilmore to what the New England secondary faced prior to the 2014 season, when the Patriots acquired Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.
Based on that experience, the challenge of figuring out how to make it all work with a new face in place with be “fun,” according to the veteran defensive back.
“I got my first real look at going through something like that in 2014 when we had Revis and Browner, and we had to come together as a unit,” he said. “We have some new guys and some new parts. It’s a different type of challenge. It’s not like we’re really trying to develop a lot of young guys. Now, it’s about having the veteran guys get in sync and learn from each other.
“It’s a different type of challenge. It was fun, and we learned a lot from that, how you can get better and communicate within the framework of the system.”