Devin McCourty: Patriots 'still have' winning culture despite 7-9 season

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Nick Goss
·3 min read
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Devin McCourty: Pats 'still have' winning culture despite losing season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots' unprecedented run of success came to a screeching halt in the 2020 NFL season when the team earned a 7-9 record without Tom Brady.

The veteran quarterback took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency, but he wasn't the only important player who left the team. Several other free agents departed, and the Patriots also had a league-high eight players opt out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Patriots did an amazing job establishing a culture of winning during the 20 years Brady was in New England. From 2000 through 2019, the team won six Super Bowl titles and reached the playoffs 17 times.

Patriots Talk Podcast: McCourty delivers good news on Pats opt-out returns

Veteran safety Devin McCourty joined the Patriots Talk Podcast on Friday, and he explained the franchise has maintained that culture even though this past season didn't go as planned.

"I think that's what we still have. We didn't win as much as we wanted, but we have a lot of guys who believe in winning," McCourty said. "Obviously, starting with coach (Bill) Belichick and down. Those guys in the locker room want to win. We just have to learn how to win. Learn how to win now without Tom Brady. We had to try to learn how to win in one year without Tom, (Dont'a) Hightower, (Patrick) Chung, Jamie (Collins), (Kyle Van Noy). We had to learn how to win without a lot of guys. 

"Next year -- and it's not an excuse -- next year we have to learn how to do that. Learn how to win without somebody else and we'll see how it all works out."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Devin McCourty goes deep on where the Patriots are headed in ’21Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Despite the struggles the team endured during the 2020 campaign, McCourty says the players are optimistic about the team's future. And with 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and a ton of salary cap space this offseason, there are pathways for the Patriots to make immediate and significant improvements to their roster before next season.

"I think we as players are a lot happier with the way the season ended and the outlook going forward than everybody else," McCourty said. 

"It should be like that, but I think we feel more confident than a lot of other people. You might replay this at the end of next year and say, 'Devin McCourty was off on that.' But it's just how we feel, especially as competitors."

Also discussed in the new episode - McCourty talks about Patriots opt outs returning, being nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and much more. Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas also discussed her recent article on "Gap Years" Patriots.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: