NASHVILLE - SEPTEMBER 12: Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders gets tackled by Jason McCourty #30 of the Tennessee Titans during the NFL season opener at LP Field on September 12 2010 in Nashville Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Raiders 38-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Titans CB Jason McCourty was nice enough to take some time to do an interview for us last week. McCourty said he is spending the post season in New England with his twin brother Devin.
Click through the jump to see what else he had to say.
Talk about the differences between year one and year two in the NFL for you.
Year one it's almost like you are chasing the game. You're still trying to learn the defense but at the same time trying to prepare for the offenses you are going up against that week. It's almost like you are in chase mode, but in year two you are a lot more relaxed. You have a better relationship with the other DBs back there and that comfort allows you to go out and make more plays.
Talk about the scheme the Titans run. Do you like it? Would you prefer to play more man?
I think our scheme is good. When you get to this level you can't only play man or zone. You have to mix it up and do a little bit of both. I think we do a pretty good job of that. Personally I like to play man, but I also like to mix it up and play zone. Getting up there and getting the opportunity to gets your hands on a receiver and try to jam him is a nice change-up.
What do you think the defense needs to improve in 2011?
We got to try and make more plays. Our biggest downfall this year was third down. We played a lot more plays on defense than a lot of other teams in the NFL. It was frustrating, and in this league when you do that you give the offense a lot more chances to make plays.
Talk about Kenny Britt. You have played with him for a long time. Did you see him having this much success this early in his career?
Oh yeah. Definitely. Kenny was talking trash all the way back at Rutgers and making the plays to back it up. That's just something you come to expect from him. He is so gifted physically. I don't know how much he weighs, about 220 pounds, and he can walk in a weight room and do just about anything. He can go out there on any given Sunday and put up career numbers.
Who is the toughest receiver you've had to match-up with so far in the NFL?
There are so many of them. You look at a guy like Andre Johnson who we play twice a year out in Houston. Also a guy like Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon out in Indy with Peyton Manning. It's kind of tough to pick any one guy we play more than others. Also guys like Dewayne Bowe and Brandon Marshall, there are so many elite receivers in this league that week in and week out you have your hands full.
Do you think Britt has the ability to be as good as all of the guys you mentioned?
Oh yeah. Definitely. He and I were talking in our last team meeting and I told him I expect to see him in the Pro Bowl., He has the talent to be one of the elite wide receivers. This year he had the possibility but injuries held him back so if he gets healthy for next year I think we will not all be shocked but happy with the results he brings.
What was it like getting to go against Randy Moss every day in practice?
It was cool man. Just the experience of having Randy Moss in your locker room on a daily basis was great. A lot of the stuff is said in the media about him, but when you get the chance to meet him and be around him you get to see what an asset he is to have on the team- whether he's talking to the guys in the locker room having them laughing or giving a speech to motivate the team before the game, he's just one of those veterans that is good to have in the locker room. He's one of those guys you can go up to and ask about anything because of all of his experience in the league.
Were you able to learn a lot from him?
Me, not personally because of the fact that I was playing on the other side of the ball, but a few things here and there from going up against him in practice like different techniques he is using against you and you are learning how to defend them. Guys Damian Williams, Kenny Britt, Marc Mariani, those guys learned an enormous amount from him. Just showing them the different thing he has learned over the years- whether it be a technique, a release or how to get a slight push off against a DB down the field on a deep pass. He has been able to help those guys a lot.
One of the biggest stories from this season was the fight between Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson. What is it that Finnegan does that gets him under the skin of so many NFL receivers?
Cort is just one of those feisty type players. He is a guy that is going to compete with you every play. The whole situation with Andre Johnson, Cort was just out there competing and it was just one of those things that happens. A lot of negative attention got thrown on him because prior to that he had been in things that he got fined for. He didn't throw any punches or anything like that so he wasn't totally in the wrong in that situation. He is a guy that you love to have on your team. He motivates you. You watch him on tape and see the passion he plays with, the way he competes, and it forces you to do everything you can to get to his level.
Talk about the differences for how things have gone for your brother in New England and you here in Tennessee.
Well he is in the playoffs after they finished 14-2 and he is going to the Pro Bowl, so there have been a lot of differences. I am actually out here in Foxboro with him now and will be throughout the playoffs. It is just one of those things, he ended up in a good situation, and he ended up playing really well. That's not to say that next year in Tennessee we can't go 14-2, and I may possibly be in the Pro Bowl. It's the NFL- sometimes you have a good year and sometimes you don't have a good year. I am extremely happy for him and proud of him. Just to be able to watch him on Sunday go out there compete and make plays.
So who is the better corner?
Of course I am going to say me. To be honest we just root for one another. We have never been competitive when it comes to football because we have always been on the same team, more when it came to video games and basketball one on one. I look forward to being out here with him for the playoffs and see what I can help him with. Hopefully they can make it to the Super Bowl.
I don't know if you know this or not, but Alterraun Verner blogs some for our site. Who is the better between you and ATV?
(He laughed) I don't know. I think me and Verner are both very similar. We both can play as we both showed this season. I started out the season playing really well and in this league there are guys that can really play. When I got hurt Verner stepped in and made plays week in and week out. So I will leave that up to you guys to decide who is the better corner. It's just been fun to have him on the team. We are actually roommates on the road so it has been cool to have another guy at corner between me, him, Cort and Mouton to have another guy to go out there and compete.
How tough was it for you to sustain that injury after winning the starting job coming out of camp?
It was frustrating. Injuries are always frustrating, no matter when they happen, but you look at guy like Jim Leonard. I heard on ESPN First Take this morning that he is going to miss the playoff game. I'll take an injury in week 3 or 4 anytime instead of before a playoff game. It is just something as an athlete that you have to work for and grind to get back on the field. I was happy that with a broken forearm I only missed 4 weeks and was able to come back and help the team.
Do you expect there to be a lockout?
I am looking at it as prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Right now you have to save money and prepare for the lockout knowing that if it does happen we are going to be responsible for keeping ourselves in shape. We just hope that it doesn't happen. We just love to play the game, and we know the fans enjoy watching it. Football is just a huge part of America. Everybody loves to tune in on Sundays. We are just hoping for the best, and hoping that an agreement can be made before a lockout happens.
Who was your favorite team growing up? Who was your favorite player?
Growing up my favorite team was the Cowboys. My older brother was a Cowboys fan, and he forced it on me and Devin to be Cowboys fans.
Favorite player, you know as a kid you always change, but I played DB so I always like guys like Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey. As a Cowboys fan you had Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. All of those guys, so there wasn't anyone player that was my favorite player growing up.
Again, a huge thanks to Jason for agreeing to do this. He even called me back when I accidentally hung up on him because I didn't know how to work my phone apparently. Also thanks to Josh Gutierrez of BG Sports who set this up initially.