Devin and Jason McCourty shared their thoughts on the possibility of a reduced NFL preseason

"Whenever you see those types of games taken away, it hurts, because that’s the way guys make the team."

Jason and Devin McCourty during the Patriots' Super Bowl victory parade in 2019.
Jason and Devin McCourty during the Patriots' Super Bowl victory parade in 2019. –Elise Amendola / The Associated Press

Devin and Jason McCourty, like so many in the NFL community, continue to await details of how the league will approach the 2020 season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

During a recent episode of their podcast, “Double Coverage with the McCourty Twins,” the Patriots’ defensive backs were asked whether fans would have to wear masks if they are even allowed at games.

“I hope so,” Devin replied.

“We have no insight on any of that,” Jason said. “I would assume that if it does happen, I would assume yes. But we have no idea. For us, we don’t even know what a game will look like for the players let alone if there’s going to be fans in the stands. I think with all of this, time will tell.

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“We don’t have a report date,” Jason added about training camp, which typically begins in July. “As players we’re all working out, getting ready, but we don’t know what we’re getting ready for. So we’re in the same boat as fans.”

Another pressing issue for the league will be preseason. In normal years, each team plays four preseason games (along with two teams that play the annual Hall of Fame game), though that number could change in 2020.

“Does it matter? We have to first figure out, ‘How do we get back in the locker room?’ When we go back, are we straight to training camp? What is that procedure?” asked Devin. “For us as players, we still want to know, ‘How everything is going to function and work?’ Don’t get me wrong, everybody is working towards that and building. There are calls and everything.”

Yet in Devin’s mind, the most important step remains a more fundamental question of viability for the NFL as the spread of COVID-19 continues.

“I think that’s more important than whether there’s four preseason games, two preseason games, no preseason games,” Devin added. “All that stuff will work itself out. All that stuff matters if the first phase of us being back in training camp is going well. If that doesn’t go well, then there is no anything. For me, that has been more my focus. I haven’t really cared what the preseason games look like.”

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Jason’s concern over preseason was more on the topic of lesser-known players having their usual chance to make an impression.

“For me, just assuming things are flowing, any time you reduce preseason games, I know for some people you look at it and it’s just like, ‘Hey, no one goes to those games, they are not as important, blah, blah, blah,'” Jason explained. “But at the same time, some of your favorite players now were guys that had to go out there and make a name for themselves in those preseason games.

“Whenever you see those types of games taken away, it hurts, because that’s the way guys make the team that they are on. They make other teams,” Jason continued. “At this point, it’s just like, ‘What is the safest way to get back on the field and actually have a season?’ If that means that we’re reducing preseason, whatever the case is, obviously we have to do what we need to do.”

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