Titans CB Jason McCourty off to strong start
NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP)
Telling identical twins apart can be difficult, apparently even when
they play for different NFL teams and wear different jerseys with
Just ask Titans cornerback Jason McCourty.
The player called J-Mac went home after scoring his first career
touchdown only to learn from his girlfriend and teammate Cortland Finnegan that several times during the game the TV announcer called him
Devin, mistaking him for his brother, New England Patriots cornerback
''So I guess it does get a little confusing,'' Jason McCourty said
after practice Wednesday.
The Titans defensive back is doing his best on the field this season to
clear up any confusion. He's off to his strongest start yet, matching a
career-high with two interceptions, notching his first sack and making
a career-best 57 tackles to rank second on the team. In last week's
27-10 win over Indianapolis, he recovered a blocked punt for that TD
and tipped a pass to safety Michael Griffin for an interception.
He's also the only defender with at least one interception and a forced
fumble for the Titans (4-3), who host Cincinnati (5-2) on Sunday.
''That's what he has been doing for us all camp,'' Tennessee coach Mike
Munchak said. ''In the preseason games it was the same thing. He had
plays in preseason and had interceptions, so he is just going to get
better the more he plays.
It looks like the Titans got the better end of this deal based on where
they drafted McCourty. They used the 203rd pick overall in the sixth
round to grab Jason out of Rutgers in 2009, and he started nine games
his first two seasons, limited only by a broken right forearm. Devin
redshirted and stuck around for his senior season at Rutgers and was
taken 27th overall in 2010 by New England.
Jason McCourty came into this season competing with Alterraun Verner in
training camp before earning the starting job at cornerback opposite
Finnegan. He says having a couple of years under his belt has slowed
the game down for him.
Jason McCourty and brother Devin McCourty Apr 21, 2010 (Mark Von
Holden/Getty Images for ESPN)
''It's like a different confidence when you go out and understand what
you're trying to get done as a defense and you understand what the
offense is trying to do,'' McCourty said. ''I think the coach, Jerry
Gray and the rest of the staff, has a lot to do with it. The plan
they're putting in place is putting us in position just to go out and
McCourty is listed as 6-foot and 188 pounds and wearing No. 30 for
Tennessee, while the Patriots put his brother at 5-10 and 193 in No.
32. But McCourty said secondary coach Marcus Robertson tells him he
looks exactly like his brother when he sees the Patriots on film, and
he hears the same thing from his teammates.
''I think our games have a lot of similarities, probably just the vague
differences on what he's learning in New England and what I'm learning
in Tennessee,'' McCourty said.
Devin had seven picks for the Patriots as a rookie and got a couple
votes for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Jason said he was just happy to
see his brother playing so well.
Griffin said he tells McCourty all the time that he's as good as his
brother, and thinks being healthy and having more experience are behind
his improved play. The safety also thinks the Titans got a steal taking
McCourty in the sixth round.
''If he would've stayed another year, him and his brother probably
would've been one and two,'' Griffin said. ''Unfortunately, he came out
a year early.''
Watching the brothers means plenty of travel for their mother. McCourty
said she was in Tennessee for back-to-back games in September and
returned for the first two games of the Titans' three-game homestand.
It's a three-hour drive to Foxborough from her home in New Jersey, and
McCourty said she keeps busy going back and forth between her sons'
The brothers also share a Twitter account with the handle
(at)McCourtyTwins with each using an abbreviation of either Dev or
J-Mac to clue in followers to which McCourty wrote the tweet. And
there's no problem with slipping there.
''I've gotten so used to it it's second nature now,'' Jason said.
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