New England Patriots

Belichick says Patriots starting over – title is no difference

(Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says his team coming off a Super Bowl title doesn’t matter in terms of building success for this season.

Belichick said Thursday during organized team activities that players are starting over again among a new group.

“I mean, look, it’s a new year. It’s a new team, so we have a lot of new things,” Belichick said at Gillette Stadium ahead of the tam’s OTA session. “Everybody’s starting all over again. I’m starting all over again. The coaching staff is starting all over again. The players are starting all over again. It’s a new year. We’ve all got a lot of work to do, but we’ve done it before, haven’t done it before — doesn’t really make any difference. It’s still a new season, a new group to work with. We’ve all got to earn each other’s trust, and the only way you do it is to go out there and do it. There’s no shortcut to it.”

Belichick said he likes where the team is at right now and that he and his staff have caught up after getting a late start on the 2017 season, thanks to a winning 2016 one.

“I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now,” Belichick said. “I think it’s the being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing. I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it.”

Belichick didn’t rest during the offseason, bringing in some new faces — like wide receiver Brandin Cooks, cornerback Stephen Gilmore and running back Mike Gillislee — to reload and make another run at a title. Belichick said the new players definitely affect his actions during the early days of practices.

“Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with,” Belichick said, when asked what he’ll tend to focus upon. “Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season.”

Belichick talked futher about what his role in this early process.

“Well, based on the practice schedule, there’s certain drills that I’ll plan on being at or maybe a certain group of players, but I try to look at everybody, see what we’re doing, make sure that we’re overall – you know, it’s kind of my job to bring the whole team together from a lot of levels,” he said. “Just, I think, being familiar with all the players, what everybody’s doing, trying to see how we’re doing and how we’re on schedule or how the groups are looking.

“The coaches are obviously a lot more detailed and go into a lot more depth in their respective positions, but I have an opportunity to kind of see everything. They don’t. I’ve been in that position before where you’re so focused on your group or your side of the ball that you really are not that in touch with what else is going on. That’s something that’s really part of my job.”

Of course, one player Belichick tends to not have to worry about is quarterback Tom Brady, who is starting his 18th season in the league. Belichick was asked what he sees from Brady during these sessions.

“Just Tom does it every day, like a lot of our guys do,” Belichick said. “Come in and work hard every day, try to string them together. He’s been doing that for a while. Again, a lot of the guys on our team that have been here for a number of years are similar — good work ethic, consistency, dependability day-to-day.

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