Welcome to our latest edition of Titan Sized Interviews. This week features Jason McCourty, our starting cornerback this season along with Alterraun Verner. McCourty really established himself last season. Starting 15 games, he posted 103 Total Tackles, to go along with 1 Sack, 2 INT’s, and a Forced Fumble. With Cortland Finnegan no longer a Titan, Jason McCourty stands in position to take over as a leader on this defense and help propel us to a championship.
Titan Sized: Thanks a lot for speaking with me today. A lot of people were surprised at the amount of success the team was able to achieve last year, especially given all of the changes regarding the system and coaching staff. Was there a lot of learning on the fly last season? Should we expect to see more diverse looks and packages this year as a result of the full off-season, or will the defense look more or less the same as last year?
Jason McCourty: “Last year was a very unusual one, with the lockout and shortened off-season. As a team we were definitely learning on the run. Not only was it schemes, but we also had to get accustomed to how coaches coached and etc. I’m excited to see what we can learn this off-season. Last year as a defense we only got a glimpse of what coach Gray can teach us, so I think with an entire offseason we will have a better understanding of what we already know. In addition we will also be able to introduce a lot more.”
Titan Sized: Sounds exciting. With Cortland gone, you and Verner stand to hold down the field on defense. Is there a distinct #1 and #2 assignment between you, or will Coach Gray be moving you two around? What is the relationship like between you and ATV, both on and off the field?
Jason McCourty: “No, I don’t see a difference as far as #1 or # 2 when it comes to me and Vern. I’m excited for the challenge. We’re both young guys that are hungry to earn respect in the league. I hated to see Cort leave; a great player, but better teammate and person in the community, but we’ll all have to step up. I’m not sure what coach Gray has in store for us and the rest of the secondary, but whatever it is we’ll be ready to learn and execute it. Me and “Burner Verner” as me and Cort always called him are cool. That’s the part about our secondary I love; we all hang out outside of the facility and get along very well. On the field the great thing about Vern is he really understands the game and has the ability to anticipate things before they happen. With that ability he’s always there letting me know what he’s expecting to happen next.”
Titan Sized: To that point, there seems to be a strong sense of cohesion among the many different players, both within given positions and as a whole. From the outside looking in, it seems as though Coach Munchak is doing a very good job of establishing a culture of accountability and respect. Would you care to talk about Coach Munchak’s philosophy and approach to players, and the effect that has on the team, as well as you personally?
Jason McCourty: “I think you said it very well; coach Munch has established a certain way of doing things. He does a great job of letting us know as a team what his expectations are, and what we need to do to achieve them. He always tells us to be a “pro” and that’s simply knowing your job and doing it. The team has responded well to coach Munch in a short time. As a team we’ve bought into the philosophy and believe that it’s the right recipe to bring Nashville a super bowl ring. Personally, coach Munch’s impact has been great. I know what is expected of me on a daily basis and can prepare myself each day to get that done. I believe as we continue to bond and improve, the sky’s the limit for this team.”
Titan Sized: Ok, so we gotta call attention to our season opener. Titans and Patriots at LP, and it just so happens both squads will feature a starting Defensive Back named McCourty. You and Devin talk about the game at all yet? Any trash talking going on there?
Jason McCourty: “Haha yea there has definitely been some trash talking going on. We took to twitter the night the schedule was released to talk a little trash. The best thing about the game is its in Nashville so we won’t have a lot of tickets to pay for with family being so far away. It’s truly a blessing though to know from pop warner all the way to the NFL we have had the opportunity to compete alongside or against each other.”
Titan Sized: It’s a very rare thing indeed, and also very possible neither of you would have reached the level of success you have had without the other. It’s a great testament to the power of family. Would you say that’s one of the things that motivates you to excel; family? What other aspects of your life motivate you to get up and work as hard as you do every day?
Jason McCourty: “Family is definitely my biggest motivator. My father passed away when I was three years old, and my mom as a single parent raised me. Knowing my father is in Heaven looking down always motivates me to put my best effort forward. Watching my mom for many years sacrifice and do so much for me is what pushed me to try and become a success in her eyes and make her proud. I think the competitor inside me motivates me to get up every morning and work to become better. Not knowing what my opponent is doing, pushes me to train as hard as possible.”
Titan Sized: While I am sorry for the loss of your father, it always amazes me when single mothers – single parents, really – sacrifice as much of they do for their children. To essentially give up one’s personal pursuits to foster those of another is about the most selfless act one could ever commit. I am sure you are just as proud of her as she is of you, and it truly speaks to your family’s character. What values did your mother instill in you that you would say most directly influence your success, both on and off the field?
Jason McCourty: “My mom taught me so much. Probably the biggest things in my life that I’ve taken from her is perseverance and hard work. She always told me no matter what the circumstances are, you make a goal and find a way to achieve it. That’s a mentality that I’ve taken with me everywhere; no matter if I start at the top or the bottom I’m going to out work everyone.”
Titan Sized: We’ll certainly be rooting for you and everyone else on the team. Is there anything you would like to tell your fans about yourself, the Titans, and/or the upcoming season before we go?
Jason McCourty: “Just that I appreciate the support and look forward to seeing everyone at camp and LP Field this upcoming season. Also, to come follow me on Facebook and Twitter: McCourtyTwins. I share an account with my twin brother, we’ll be posting information about upcoming events, contests and always keeping you entertained.”
Titan Sized: Great. Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us – we certainly appreciate it – and good luck from myself and everyone at Titan Sized on the upcoming season.
Jason McCourty: No problem, man. Appreciate it.