FOXBORO -- The Patriots probably made a wise choice in selecting a player to replace Tom Brady at the podium on Thursday.
Devin McCourty met with reporters once already on Wednesday, holding court and providing more than 2,000 words in responses to their questions. One day later, he was back at the front of the room, staring down a microphone and many of the same faces from the previous day.
Because Brady was held out of Thursday's practice, it was announced that he would not be holding a press conference and that McCourty would be taking his place. McCourty knew the Brady questions were coming, and he seemed to relish the opportunity to sidestep them one after another.
How was Brady injured on Wednesday?
"I don't know," McCourty said. "I was playing defense."
How did he look at Thursday's practice? (This was before it was announced that Brady was a non-participant.)
"Tom looks excellent every day," McCourty said. "One of the best-looking people I've ever met . . . When you look at Tom, the facial [region], it's hard to look at anything else. I only really saw his face."
The questions continued, and McCourty never flinched. Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.
Who was on the other side of the ball? When you were out there, did you see who was throwing?
"For us on the look squad?" McCourty asked. "[Brian] Hoyer was playing quarterback today."
Asked if Brady's hand is becoming a distraction, McCourty pointed out that it may be a distraction for others. But inside the building it probably doesn't fall under that umbrella.
"I think usually because it’s just a distraction I think for you guys," he explained. "I think it’s like, ‘Fine, we don’t get to write about the running game and third down. We can write about something cool.’ So it’s like, ‘Let’s talk about Tom’s nice hand or let’s talk about whatever it was through the years.’
"A couple weeks ago it was, ‘Let’s talk about an article and ask them.’ For us, we just stick to how do we win a football game? How do we study the film, find out how to execute offensively, defensively, special teams? And that’s what makes us happy at the end of the day . . . We just continue to do that. I think our families are usually distracted. They send text messages asking questions, but they can’t even bother us."