Jason McCourty addressed the media Friday for the first time since he signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins, revealing among other things his free agency process and being reunited with several former teammates.
McCourty signed with Miami on May 7 after spending the past three seasons with the New England Patriots, which came after eight years with the Tennessee Titans and one with the Browns.
FAMILIAR PATRIOTS FACES
In McCourty's first season in New England, which ended with the Patriots defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, the team's de facto defensive coordinator was Brian Flores and his teammates included current Dolphins players Eric Rowe, Elandon Roberts and Jamal Perry (then known as Jomal Wiltz).
That familiarity played a role in McCourty's decision to sign with the Dolphins after he also drew interest from the New York Giants.
"I was talking to Flo and obviously I know (defensive coordinator) Josh Boyer and all of those guys throughout the process," McCourty said. "This just felt like a really good fit for me. I think it came down to obviously some familiarity with those coaches, but then just kind of knowing guys down here, from Eric Rowe to Jamal Perry to Elandon Roberts, Emmanuel Ogbah (in Cleveland). I got a chance to play with a lot of the guys that were on the defense here and there was some familiarity there. I think I’m a good fit here and I’m looking forward to getting to know the guys here and getting to know the system and what it’s like to be a Miami Dolphin and just try to help in that way.”
Along with his experience, McCourty offers the kind of versatility that Flores likes in his players, having lined up at cornerback, safety and slot corner during his career.
Given the make-up on the Dolphins roster, it's logical to suggest that McCourty might be of more use at safety, where the team has Rowe and recent draft picks Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland.
"Obviously I played for Flo as a coordinator in 2018 in New England, but the Miami defense isn’t exactly the New England defense," McCourty said. "So for me, rather than focusing on becoming a free safety or cornerback or nickel, it’s how can I learn the entire defense to understand, ‘OK, when the free safety is moving this way, he’s doing that because the corner is now thinking this way and the nickel is going to be moving in that direction.’ I think the more I can understand the totality of the defense and why the moving parts are moving the way they are, the more I’ll be able to learn for myself and be able to play better, and the more I’ll be able to help the guys around me as I understand the defense as a whole.”
Having gone from New England to Miami means not only that McCourty now will be playing for team that used to be a division rival, he'll also be facing his twin brother Devin twice a year.
“It’s fun," Jason said. "It’s different. Obviously I walk into the locker room and you see the DeVante Parkers or Jakeem Grants. Those are the guys you’re game-planning for for the past three years twice a year, so it’s different. Now you’re getting into the locker room. But I think the thing is in our league, you’re used to it. Every year, the only thing that’s constant in the league is change. Every year you see guys coming and guys going, and for me, it’s just trying to get in and know the guys. You play against them, you know them from their jersey number and what they look like on film, but then you walk in the locker room and you see a guy and you’re like, ‘He kind of looks familiar.’ Then we go out there with the jerseys on, and you’re like ‘Oh, that’s Allen Hurns,’ or whoever the case be; because now you’re getting to put the numbers in the game with the face. It’s definitely different.
"Dev is already talking trash to me about the Week 1 matchup. I want to come here, I want to have fun and I want to help this team win football games.”
Not surprisingly, Jason was asked whether early bets have been made between he and his brother for the Week 1 game between the Dolphins and Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
“Nothing too early," he said, "but I told him the family is already going to be more on my side because who wouldn’t want to come down here and visit rather then going up to the snow where he’s at and visiting."