Back at Baptist Sports Park, McCourty and his teammates have been engaged in the team’s off-season program in preparation for the 2013 season. McCourty says Phase II of the program is about getting better, both individually and as a team, with on-field conditioning and work in the weight room.
McCourty is excited about the team’s recent additions, both through free agency and the draft. But even with a secure contract in hand, the defensive captain is not about to get complacent.
“There’s always competition,” he said. “In this league it’s about production and there’s always a younger guy looking to take your spot no matter how secure you think you are. Each year as you go into the season you have to compete throughout OTAs and training camp to continue to play at a high level and play in the NFL in general.”
McCourty said it’s been “a blast” getting to know all the new players as they look to gel together on the football field.
“Everybody has a reputation that precedes them,” he said. “A guy like Bernard Pollard, we watched him play in the Super Bowl and a guy like George Wilson who’s played as many seasons as he has in the league, those are easy names to remember.”
And those new names will contribute to a much different looking defense in 2013.
“I think it’s going to look a lot different,” McCourty said. “We have new pieces, along with Gregg Williams, who is a new coach for us. He’s bringing more of an attack attitude towards the defense. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re going to produce once the season shows up.”
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“I’ll probably take on more of a leadership role during offseason workouts and OTAs just from the fact that I’m the oldest corner we have on the roster right now,” McCourty told Paul Kuharsky, Jonathan Hutton and Chad Withrow on 104.5 The Zone’s Midday 180. “I think it’s a part of growing up. I came in and had guys like Cortland and Chris Hope kind of teach me the ropes. When I came in it was Court’s fourth year. Now I’m that guy that can kind of show some of the younger guys some things.”
A sixth-round draft pick by the Titans in 2009, McCourty started 15 games at cornerback and tied for the team lead with two interceptions, while leading the squad with 13 passes defensed in 2011. He ranked second on the team with 107 tackles, adding a forced fumble, fumble recovery and a recovery of a blocked punt for a touchdown.
McCourty said he’s confident in the current players in Tennessee’s secondary, one he emphasized should improve with a full offseason under defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.
“I think it will be huge in this upcoming year. Not being able to go through offseason workouts with OTAs hindered us with some of the things that we could do,” he said. “Throughout the course of the season we were still learning his system and play-calling. I think an entire offseason will give us a lot of time to really learn his expectations and let him learn the way we like to be coached, so I’m excited to see what can be done in the second year.”
The Titans may add another cornerback via the draft or free agency, but McCourty said he’s confident in Alterraun Verner, Chris Hawkins, Tommie Campbell and Ryan Mouton, whose season was cut short with an Achilles injury.
“Whether we bring someone in for depth or wherever it may be, I’m confident those guys and myself can get the job done,” McCourty said.
Drafting a pass-rushing defensive end, however, would make him happy.
“Some of the best secondaries are made up from the best defensive lines,” McCourty said. “As a defensive back, I’d love to get somebody coming off the edge harassing the quarterback, making life for him terrible. If we can do that, I’d be happy about it.”
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