Written by: NFL

Patriots’ Devin McCourty says “I’m just a player” in response to Belichick’s “We sold out”

It’s easy for anybody in the media to stir the pot in New England. Every soundbite, word, and microexpression, will be scrutinized to the 10th degree. Because of this, it’s why the Patriots Devin McCourty’s comments about Bill Belichick saying the Patriots sold out for three Super Bowls is worthy of another look. 

Last week Bill Belichick told Charlie Wise that the Patriots are playing a lot of young players and that they don’t have their usual depth, because the Patriots were in salary cap trouble in the offseason. Belichick doubled down on these comments earlier this week on the Greg Hill show.

“Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. I mean it’s obvious we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault,” Belichick said. “That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in a AFC championship game. This year we had less to work with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.”

This was met with a flurry of criticism from fans, media, and anonymous NFL executives and coaches. The general message has been; Belichick put himself in this position. One unnamed veteran coach said that Tom Brady called Belichick’s bluff, and others took the notion that many teams have been able to cope with the salary cap. The last comment about the salary cap just sound like sour grapes, there is no general manager in the NFL that has handled the salary cap better than Bill Belichick. 

New England Patriots safety and defensive captain Devin McCourty appeared as a guest on the Greg Hill show, and he was asked to provide his opinion on Belichick’s comments. 

“Do I? It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree. It definitely doesn’t,” McCourty said. “I get paid to play free safety. That’s what I do. I am not into all of that other stuff. That is for you guys to decide. You guys get to decide on why we win and why we lose. I am not the expert. I am just a player.”

The Patriots are a team that has stuck together over the years, they have adopted the us vs the world mentality, and though McCourty didn’t throw his coach under the bus, or call him out publicly, he also didn’t necessarily come to Belichick’s defense either, and perhaps the Patriots are starting to show the cracks that losing is getting to them.

Prior to the Patriots 24-21 heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, mainstays in New England like Devin McCourty and Ja’Whaun Bentley discussed how they turned to teammates like Jason McCourty who have played on teams with losing records. The Patriots long term leadership like McCourty, David Andrews, and James White have all faced adversity, but none of those three men had ever faced a losing record after week three. Now the Patriots are sitting at 2-5 and are third in the AFC East behind the Miami Dolphins and the Bills. There has never been a time since Bill Belichick was hired as the head coach that they have given so much insight and candied answers, whereas winning can fix everything, losing can only build on tension, pressure, and frustration. 

McCourty’s answer to Belichick’s salary cap comment was the equivalent to “I just work here.” The sense of unity and accountability the Patriots are so accustomed to outwardly showing, seems to be disappearing piece by piece with every dropped pass, missed play, missed tackle, and loss. The only thing the Patriots seem to do together is lose as a team. There has been no consistency amongst any of the three units this season, and Tom Brady going to Tampa Bay is not the reason the Patriots Special Teams is hit and miss, and that the defense can’t stop the run. 

Examining the demeanor and responses by the locker room leaders, it’s leading to the question that most people felt would never be asked, is Bill Belichick losing the locker room? The answer right now would have to be no, a one off, unusual response from a frustrated Devin McCourty isn’t enough to say the locker room OG’s have had enough of their coach, but if the trend continues, the question will be asked more and more. The other question would be, if Belichick is losing the room, is there anything he could do to fix it? That answer is simple, win.       

Tags: , , , , Last modified: November 6, 2020
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