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The New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns are on opposite sides of the NFL spectrum, considering the prior has been to three of the last four Super Bowls and the latter is coming off a 0-16 season, but Cleveland’s recent struggles have helped New England keep things in perspective.
“Sometimes we get in a routine—we’ve won a lot of football games—and it’s always good to hear a different perspective of what it takes so you’re not kind of getting worn down or thinking this is too much,” defensive back Devin McCourty said when reflecting on the experience his brother and teammate Jason McCourty garnered playing for Cleveland last year, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
“You get a perspective from him going 0-16,” he continued. “He always tells me, ‘Last year, worst year ever.’ I think hearing that motivates you and lets you know you’re doing the right things that push you.”
The Patriots acquired Jason McCourty via trade in March, and Reiss noted he will look to help replace the departed Malcolm Butler in the secondary.
If he does that and the Patriots continue a run of success that has seen them win the AFC East for nine years running, McCourty will make the playoffs for the first time in his career. He played his first eight seasons with the Tennessee Titans before lacing it up for Cleveland in 2017 and hasn’t enjoyed the type of team success his brother Devin has during his eight seasons with the Patriots.
Jason had 65 combined tackles and three interceptions for the Browns in 2017 and will have the opportunity to bolster one area of need for the Patriots moving forward.
New England was an abysmal 30th in the league in passing yards allowed last season, and the secondary proved costly when Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Jason McCourty can do more than just offer perspective following a dismal Browns campaign and will look to improve the secondary alongside his brother as he chases his first appearance in the playoffs.