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Notes from Devin McCourty's and Matthew Slater's Pre-Training Camp Press Conferences

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After Bill Belichick's press conference (with a cameo by Robert Kraft) it was the two team captains' turn to face the media.

A Super Bowl winning jump.
A Super Bowl winning jump.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coming straight off their respective conditioning tests, safety Devin McCourty and special teams ace Matthew Slater faced the media after Bill Belichick (and Robert Kraft). The major topic was – once again – DeflateGate and both players did their best to carefully answer each question related to the scandal/farce.

Both team captains expressed the same thought: the entire Patriots organization sticks together through this affair. McCourty and Slater both called the team "family". McCourty also said that one of the great things about the Patriots is that every member of the organization represents the others – just like Kraft said, the entire team stands behind Tom Brady. "We believe in him", said McCourty.

The main theme of both McCourty's and Slater's press conferences was of course training camp (besides the usual DeflateGate-related questions).

McCourty, who spoke first, said that the entire team right now focuses on training camp and on getting better each week as well as getting on the same page. Everyone, he said, starts at the same level and that the entire squad tries to "lift off from minicamp; gotta pick up from there". According to the safety, a good first day of training camp tomorrow is the key to this.

"We feel like we're a family in there. Good or bad, things happen in life, and you stick with your family."-Matthew Slater

Slater echoed McCourty's thoughts about improvement. He was also asked two strictly football-related questions. First about the contract extensions two his fellow special teamers – kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen – received this offseason. Without going into the specifics, Slater praised both as "great teammates" while saying that he feels "excited" for them.

The team captain was also asked about the transition from long-time special teams coach Scott O'Brien, who retired this offseason, to his assistant Joe Judge. Slater answered that "both guys love football", which makes the transition easier. He went on to say that it has been an honor to play for O'Brien, while he feels "excited to play for Joe". He feels the same excitement about new special teams assistant Ray Ventrone, who "is going to bring a lot to the table".