McCourty ready to lead defense

When Devin McCourty reported to training camp, he walked into the Hale Center looking more like his identical twin brother Jason than usual.

Devin McCourty was wearing a Tennessee Titans T-shirt, paying homage to his brother who sealed a 21-18 win for the Titans over the Bills in the Hall of Fame game the previous night.

"I'm definitely proud," McCourty said of watching his brother. "It was a great feeling just seeing him out there playing. My whole family was crying."

But as exciting as last night was for McCourty, Rutgers' report day is just as thrilling to him.

"It's exciting right now coming back," he said. "It's the same environment, but a lot of guys have left and it's going to be a new season for me definitely."

For McCourty, the most crucial part of the defense's success, although many that he played with over the last four years are gone, are the key returners on defense and the team's good health.

"It feels great," McCourty said. "We finally have the guys that we're familiar with back healthy. The defense has experience. Having guys like Ryan [D'Imperio] and Joe [Lefeged] at 100 percent will be great … I think we'll be very good. A goal of ours going into the season is to have a great defense. I'm excited just with the linebackers and the D-line and the secondary is getting better each day."

But it's not just the returners that inspire confidence for McCourty, it's the freshmen as well. McCourty and the rest of the secondary got time to work with Logan Ryan and Abdul Smith over the summer and said that he was impressed by their play.

"They came and they worked out for about two or three weeks and they picked things up pretty well so it will be interesting to see how they do in camp," McCourty said.

The primary transition for the fifth-year senior will be taking over the leadership void in the secondary left by McCourty and the Seattle Seahawks' Courtney Greene.

"[My confidence] is prettying high going into the season," McCourty said. "We have a lot of guys working hard throughout the summer so camp should be good to them."

When asked what the biggest difference between this offseason and previous offseason, McCourty said that the conditioning program this season was the most demanding so far.

"This is my fifth year and this is the hardest summer I've ever been through," he said. "We worked on a lot of different things so I think that, as a secondary, we're in great shape. I'm really confident in what we've done so far."


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