FOXBORO -- Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells once said, “When you don’t know what you don’t know it’s a lot different than when you do know what you don’t know.”

Ya know?

Not every Patriot player knows what he doesn’t know. But Devin McCourty does. The Patriots ninth-year safety said on Monday’s Quick Slants that this Sunday’s game against the Texans is all about “the unknown.”

“You just don’t know,” said McCourty, who’s co-hosting the show on Mondays this year along with his twin brother Jason. “Everyone is kind of vanilla in the preseason. You might see some things (to indicate a plan) so you try to watch that. You try to watch last season. We’ll definitely watch our Week 3 game against them [last year] but it’s still . . . there’s so much time to prepare and do different things that we can’t know everything.”

Even though the Patriots didn’t hold joint practices this season for the first time in several seasons, Devin McCourty said playing the Eagles and Panthers in the preseason were very good prep.   

“Defensively as a whole, I think we’re in a good spot,” said Devin. “We’ve kind of hit a good groove. We had our ups and downs in the preseason but I think you kind of want that. You want to struggle a little bit and see some things you need to improve on. 



“Playing Philly (in Week 2 of the preseason), which is a spread [offense] and [quarterback] Nick Foles, a guy who can stand in the pocket and throw the ball, then going to Carolina the next week, a team that will come out there and go two-back, run the ball with a very good quarterback [Cam Newton] who can make plays with his legs too, so I thought that was a good introduction going into the season, especially Week 1 going against [Deshaun] Watson.”

Jason McCourty, who played a lot of safety in the final two games of the preseason, talked about his continued transition to that spot after 10 years as a top-tier NFL corner. 

“I’m a slash, he said. “I can do a little bit of both (playing safety or corner). I’m an emergency kind of guy whichever way you need me to go. I wouldn’t say [safety is] difficult, just different. 

“At corner, you’re out there on that island, you’re sometimes going against the best player on the other’s team on each and every down. Moving back to safety, from that standpoint you can relax a little bit in terms of having that 1-on-1, in-your-face matchup every play but it’s a lot more responsibility in terms of making sure guys are going with their coverage and all the angles are different when it comes to coming out of your breaks and determining where the quarterback is going to launch the ball.” 

How much time Jason McCourty gets -- and where -- will be interesting to watch as the season develops.