In a piece he wrote for the Players Tribune this week, Patriots safety Devin McCourty discussed going into free agency with a desire to find a “new challenge” only to realize that challenge presented itself as a leader in New England thanks to many players leaving the team.
Quarterback Tom Brady was one of those players and the Patriots currently have a depth chart of Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler at the position. On a Wednesday conference call, McCourty was asked if that state of affairs left him like the defense will be under pressure to carry the team.
“No, I think for me, as a defense we should want to be great no matter what,” McCourty said. “For years, we always have talked about us being the reason we lost games and we knew how great Tom was. I still say the same thing because the defense, your goal has to always be the same when you take the field. If we get turnovers, we dominate and get the offense back on the field. For us as a defense, that’s something that we need to do. Last year, we didn’t go into the season and say, “We need to carry the team,” or, “We need to do this and that.” We said, “We need to be as good as we can.” The offense said the same thing, special teams said it, and then you see where you fall. I think we have to continue to do those same things as a defense, as an offense and overall, special teams, if you want to be a good football team.”
There’s a lot of offseason left to go and the Patriots could look a lot different on offense by the time the team takes the field. However the unit comes together and however good the other two phases look, the Patriots probably won’t be going too far if it can’t find a way to be productive.